Art in AP Biology

Our AP exams finished up this week, but we have three weeks of school remaining. To continue our learning in AP Bio, most years I ask students to create a legacy project in our OLE. This year, I asked for something different and I am so excited!

It took me some time to decide the legacy project needed to be different this year. It feels like everything has been a struggle and listening to the students brainstorm legacy ideas was no different. Through many sleep-interrupted nights and pull-my-hair-out days, I finally thought of a new legacy project. I hope this idea will inspire some of you to try something similar 🙂

On Tuesday, we went to the OLE with a goal of taking photographs of beauty. Students could take as many as they liked as long as multiple species were represented within the group of photos. I allowed them to include people in some photos. Back in the classroom, I challenged students to narrow down their collection to just five favorite photos. This was the hardest part!

Next, students had to choose one organism in one of those photos to write about. I gave them prompts for writing and we spent the remainder of class writing about the organism. For homework, students had to find out how the organism (they all chose flowers except one chose a bee) has been used by people in our area. The next day, students reported out those uses. It was fun to see them share and feel their surprises at all of the uses. After sharing, I provided three large white boards for each group, and asked groups of students to draw a scene that incorporated their organisms and people in nature. The small groups had to work together to decide on and then draw their scenes. Once done, they walked around to admire the work of other groups. Finally, they returned to their original piece and modified based on ideas gathered viewing other boards.

On Thursday, I took students back to the OLE to gather petals. We each gathered a handful of petals from various plants. In the classroom, students used mortar and pestles to mush the petals and extract the color from them. Then, I gave them a single canvas to try out their new “paints”. They had to coordinate with one another and were limited by color options, but I think the outcome was pretty good for a first try. (The picture above is their art piece). At the end of class, one student thanked me – truly thanked me. I almost cried.

Yesterday, I finally revealed what our legacy project will be this year. Each of these activities set some ground work for the final piece. The class will create a piece of art for my classroom! This will be spectacular and I am so excited to see and share the final outcome soon! After announced, the class sat on the floor in a circle with a big butcher block paper as their storyboard of sorts. They discussed ideas, listened to one another, and respectfully conversed until they finally agreed on what they will create. It was one of the BEST conversations I have witnessed this entire year. Let’s hope that level of cooperation persists for the next three weeks!

I hope you all enjoy whatever is next for you! Summer is approaching!!

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