Phototropism: Environmental Sculpture of the Future

phototropismOne way to address Earth Day this week and integrate environmental science into your art curriculum is through the interactive website Phototropism. This website allows you to create your own virtual sculptures using futuristic materials that react to environmental conditions.

Upon entering the industrial art studio, you are presented with a brief video introduction explaining phototropism in plant life. At this point you are placed among many futuristic materials to build your own sculptural plant for virtual installation (nothing is actually downloaded to your computer) . At the outdoor environment, additional sculptures can be added and repositioned to various depths along the landscape. Several random weather systems can be run that demonstrate the changes to the materials and sculptures.

Conversation with students on this topic can be taken in many directions:

  • Physical advantages or limitations of art materials.
  • Partership between the art and science community to design eco-friendly products.
  • Responsibility of artists to use environmentally friendly products or reuse/repurpose materials.
  • Discussion of Claude Monet and the impact that weather conditions and time of day had on his artwork. Take Monet into the 21st century -what would he do with these new materials?
Theresa McGee

Hello! My name is Theresa McGee and I am a National Board Certified Art Teacher and Apple Distinguished Educator teaching in Hinsdale, Illinois. My curriculum is structured around creative thinking and technology integration into the learning process. I have authored eighteen articles for the Tech4ArtEd Column in SchoolArts Magazine and several iTunes U courses for professional development. I've presented at the state and national levels including several online webinars for art educators. In 2010, I was awarded Illinois Elementary Art Educator of the Year and in 2011 I was awarded the national PBS Teacher Innovator award. I love to share ideas that contribute to the art education profession!

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