Monday, 29 July 2013

The Science of Art

Week 1 What is art?

Wow, there was some animated discussion today as we tried to define 'art.'  Over the next few weeks we are learning to use different thinking tools to help us think in new, and complex ways. Today we used the 'alphabet key' to brainstorm examples of art for each letter of the alphabet. We used this thinking process to establish what everyone's perception of art was as a starting point. We noticed a pattern in out thinking:  we each had a set of 'criteria' in our heads that we used to judge if something was art or not. We quickly found out that we all have a different set of criteria that we use to judge things so we are all starting from a different point. When people have different viewpoints it makes us think about things in a different way which is good. Do we need to agree what art is (and is not) before we move on?

Some of the examples we decided were probably art were:
martial arts
miming and acting

We also found out that we could not come up with even one  criteria that we could always use to judge whether something was art as there was always something that challenged the criteria For example:

"If you make it(or turn it into something)'s art"eg knitting, sculpture. But some things are not made they just 'are' (like nature). Are they art too?

"Can it be art by itself...not just used for art" (eg the earth can be used to inspire a painting, but is it art on its own?)We decided anything can be turned into art but not everything is art on its own.

"Art is beautiful" (but then we decided not all art is beautiful - it depends who is looking at it!)

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with our examples? Can you think of others that will get us thinking? Is there a criteria we can use to establish what is and what isn't art? Please post a comment below to help us with our thinking!

Week 2 Colour
Today we aimed to investigate colour in more detail by looking at prisms, rainbows and chromotography (separating colours) but Tane posed a question early on that really got us thinking and questioning together.   Our discussion centred around whether rainbows were real or were they a trick of the sun and rain?  As Scientists we needed evidence to (dis)prove our hypothesis and form conclusions. Everyone was able to bring in 'evidence' to the discussion that pushed our thinking off on other tangents. 

Here are some of the evidence markers we came up with so far:
If we take a photo it must be real
 If I can see it its real
You can’t see music but that’s real
If you move the rainbow moves with you so it can’t be real

We then wondered if it’s not real how can so many people see it?  Someone the came to the conclusion that rainbows are always there just sometimes you can’t see it (it needs the sun and rain to make it appear).

We certainly have more ideas to discuss and evidence to help us understand about rainbows. Can you help us with questions or comments to get us thinking differently?

Week 3 Perception
We explored how how 'artists' use illusions to play tricks on our eyes with magic and optical illusions today. We were amazed and intrigued by how lines that appear bent are actually straight, static images appear to move and we can perceive something to be there that isn't really! Here are some of the images we looked at. They are from

Some research suggests that girls are typically able to interpret optical illusions differently to boys. This got our scientific brains even more curious and we had to find out if it was true! We are in the process of surveying both males and females, adults and children and next week we are going to analyse the data...I wonder what we will find?

                                          Are the horizontal lines parallel, or do they slope?

Answer: Believe it or not, they are parallel! 

‘You might see the word ‘lift’ or some black splotches. For some reason, girls usually see the word more easily than boys.


  1. WOW this is great thinking guys...we can hear music so it affects our other senses like...hearing. We would use our sight to see the things that we can't hear, can't touch and can't smell. So if we use our senses to make a connection to something...Does that make it real?

  2. We had a lot of discussion at home this week about rainbows and how often things happen due to a combination of elements/events. Lachlan's dad is a chemist and he talked about some experiments he has done and the fun outcomes of these and how he spends a lot of time exploring. wondering and thinking critically. It is great to see Lachlan involved in this at school. (mum and dad)

  3. Illusionists play tricks with our eyes and it can be quite exciting when you discover a secret message or code. This type of learning is right up Qwades alley...Thank you Suzanne for providing Qwade with these amazing experiences he really loves it and can't stop talking about his new found discoveries.

  4. Allanah (Fletcher's Mum)3 September 2013 at 00:52

    Georgia and I (both girls) could see the word lift and we thought the lines were not parallel.

    When Fletcher said girls and boys see illusions differently I thought this might be because boys are more frequently colour blind than girls. But it seems this is not the reason.

  5. Allanah (Fletcher's Mum)3 September 2013 at 00:55

    What is art?
    Some people use the expression it is an "art not a science".
    What does this mean?
    I think it means there are less rules and explanations for it.