Astronomy meets fine art and homework

<I>MARILYN STRANGE photo</I><BR>Naselle fifth-graders Baylee Clark and Haleigh See combine study of astronomy with many other disciplines, including art.

Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' inhabits a new sky over picturesque village of Naselle

NASELLE - Fifth grade students in Naselle study astronomy, but they don't just read about it. Like many other students, they act out planetary and lunar movements, but they don't stop there. Astronomy is the oldest science, the students discovered, and therefore related to creative arts.

In class the students analyzed Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night." Then, with pastels, they produced their own versions of an impressionistic night sky over a village like Naselle, taking three days over the project.

At home the students continued their linking of astronomy to the arts. Tim and Kyle wrote one-boy plays, put on space suits, made props, and acted out their scripts for videotape. Ian also made a video, but he focused on comets. Matt and Dillon created PowerPoint Presentations (computerized slide shows) showing what they learned about gravity and "worm holes." Haleigh and three other students wrote science fiction stories, while other students made models or posters.

The fifth graders were able to use their strengths and interests in working on their homework, showing what they could do when challenged.

As the students delighted each other with their work, they remembered the words of Mrs. Whatsit in "A Wrinkle in Time," the 1962 classic science fiction story they just finished reading: "Of course we can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts."

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