Sunday, September 18, 2016

Glass Across the Curriculum

Social Studies/History

..all connected by glass art!

This is an experience Berry 6th graders have had this week in art class.  Darren Goodman is our visiting artist and he calls his presentation Glass Experience.  This is our third year welcoming Darren to our school to have him share his life lessons, art and songs.  Two years ago my students collaborated on a project with Darren that was installed at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

 This unique encounter with an artist includes a hand-made, one of a kind portable glass furnace. His captivating presentation points out many meaningful messages each connecting to one another with fluidity and grace.

One of the first things he says to my students is to ask the question, "Does anyone know where glass came from?"  When the students answer without hesitation that glass comes from sand, he asks "Where does sand come from?"  The students confidently answer "...from broken up rocks!" They know because they are studying rocks in science!

A connection with social studies is made as Darren explains that the ancient Egyptians made the first vessels using glass cane.  He then goes on to demonstrate the connection of glass with the future, an extension of the very first glass technology.

Darren illustrates the very recent invention of fiber optics as he pulls a very thin cable of glass from the molten glass on the end of his blow pipe.

Race cars!  Ferraris to be exact!  That is the topic of a story Darren tells about how he was asked to create the trophies for the Ferrari Challenge.  Making these red, glass trophies was very challenging because working with red glass is difficult.  One day an in progress trophy got too hot and fell to the floor.

He was angry at first but then realized that a gift was given to him.  He decided to call this new shape a Tear of Joy.  He continued to make more and more of these Tears of Joy and ended up showing them in galleries and museums.  The lesson that is learned is the tears are very thin but also very strong because of their shape. Each tear is unique and displayed in a group where their message is the strongest, just like people in communities working together as one. 

All of this is done while Darren plays a recording of some songs that he wrote himself!  If that is not enough music for you, he then answers questions at the end of the presentation in song. He ends everything on a good note by playing his guitar (that looks like glass but is really made of plastic) with a glass cane that he made during the presentation.  Genius!

Music Made With Glass
You can view a video of Darren playing music with glass by clicking the link above.

My students leave this presentation wanting more and that is the best way to end a class period in any subject!  I plan on having the students use glass in a project later on this year.  I will post about it when we get to that lesson!