How Art can be used to Teach Science

Scientists often use a drawing or model to help them understand the concepts they are studying. Michael Faraday, a pioneer of scientific discoveries, took great notes and drew illustrations of his experiments. He is one of many scientists that have used a form of art to help them with their scientific discoveries. Some of Da Vinci’s best-known art work are those scientific sketches that he drew in his book. Today, research is suggesting that art is useful in helping students comprehend scientific concepts. 

Just as art is used by regular scientists, professionally made art can be used to help students understand the ideas that their science teacher is trying to teach them. Through the use of visual aids, such as posters and sketches, students gain a more complete idea of what is being taught. With less and less lecture time, there are other ways that teachers use art to help students understand science.

When students have to draw a concept, such as the magnetic fields of the earth, they gain a better understanding of what they are trying to learn. Reading science materials and memorizing it or writing about it becomes tedious for some students. Drawing the concepts they read about allows teachers to differentiate the material while allow creative students an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge through their own strength. Art knows no age limit and is useful at all levels of education, from pre-school to college.

For example, a teacher in a preschool might help the students complete an experiment that draws colors from a black marker up a piece of paper, showing that the black color is comprised of several colors. Students would be able to show their understanding by redrawing the experiment with their crayons. 

Another way to use art is through the use of clay. Students studying the brain could use different colors of clay to create all the various areas in the brain. As the teacher walks around the room, it is easy for him to check each child for understanding.

Mitosis and meiosis are concepts that just cry out to become part of a student diagram. Actually drawing the different steps helps them keep the two processes separate. Diagrams are also a useful way for students to take notes when they are involved in the dissection of a frog, worm, cow’s eye or other creature.

Tee-shirts, markers and patterns allow young children to understand the human body. Simply have them create a digestive system on the shirt using the patterns and placing the organs in the correct places. When they wear the shirt, they gain a concept of how their body is put together. You are able to do a similar activity by tracing their bodies onto a large sheet of paper and adding each body system as it is studied.

Charts are also a way students can use are to learn. Separating animals or plants into their various kingdoms and phylum is easy to learn when the student does the work herself. 

Model-building can help students understand many things, from earthquake faults to the solar system. Students can interact with the models and increase their own learning.

Art is more than doodling on a piece of paper. It is a very real learning tool that teachers can use to help their students learn and demonstrate learning in the science classroom.