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Summary: Approximately 130 chemistry students and 70 art students will work with a local potter, a college art professor, a metalsmith, and an expert in electroplating as they apply the artistic and chemistry principles of electrochemistry, chemical formulas, stoichiometric and mole calculations, and ratio mathematics to create dragonflies whose bodies will be made of clay and glazes and wings of electroplated and anodized metals. The dragonflies will be combined into mobiles that will be displayed around the school and community.


Need Statement:  According to the National Science Education Standards, science should actively engage students in inquiries that are interesting and important to them and be connected to other school subjects.  This project will meet these challenges as the principles and concepts of chemistry and the artistic aspects of metal-working and ceramics are related to students’ everyday life experiences and interests through the creative design and production of ceramic dragonflies made from clay, glazes and metals.  The School Improvement Plan states “Education is a total community responsibility” and to help students discover their best learning style in order to prepare them for a lifetime of learning.  This project will actively address these goals by involving a local potter, college art professor, metal smith and an expert in electroplating in the development and implementation of hands-on activities.  These activities will enhance students’ and teachers’ understanding of the artistic and chemistry aspects of ceramics and metalworking.


Strength Statement:

·         The potter will develop the recipes for the clay that students will use to form the bodies of their dragonflies.  He will help develop and implement the activities that will require students to vary the proportions of ingredients in order to determine the combination that results in the best clay.  He will also provide expertise in the firing temperature of the clays and the glazes that will produce the best colors for the clay bodies.

·         The college art professor will work directly with the teachers and students in the classroom in order to maximize the chemistry-art connections that in the study of ceramics and metalworking.  She will also organize the use of the college’s kiln to facilitate in the firing of the clay and glazed dragonfly bodies.

·         The expert in electroplating will help develop and implement the lab activities that to allow students to create electroplated and anodized wings for the dragonflies.  He will also contribute the required cleaning and metal plating solutions needed for the electroplating and anodizing.

·         The metal smith will develop the procedures for creating and attaching the wings to the clay bodies of the dragonflies.  She will work directly with the students to demonstrate the correct techniques for working with metals and for embellishing the wings with beads and/or other artistic materials.

·         The chemistry teacher will provide the expertise in developing and implementing hands-on and lab activities appropriate and safe for high school students, making sure all activities meet the objectives and goals of the NC Standard Course of Study for Chemistry and the School Improvement Plan.

·         The art teacher will provide the expertise in creating and implementing hands-on activities appropriate and safe for high school art students, making sure all activities meet the objectives and goals of the NC Standard Course of Study for Art Education and the School Improvement Plan.


Outcomes:  By working with the potter, college professor, metal smith, and electroplater, teachers will gain the confidence and knowledge needed to incorporate new activities that integrate the art and chemistry curriculums and provide students with opportunities to learn and apply science and art concepts and principles.  These activities will engage students in inquiries that are interesting and relevant to their everyday lives.

            As students witness teachers and the community professionals working cooperatively with one another they will see that each individual has a responsibility in sharing his or her expert knowledge in order to support and create unique and exciting learning environments.

            The challenging hands-on and lab activities will be based on concepts and principles that are relevant to students’ lives and require them to make connections among what is being studied and other school subjects.  This project will also provide students with the skills and knowledge to continue their interest in art and/or science outside of the classroom.  Involving the community professionals in the development and implementation of the integrated chemistry and art activities will allow students to gain experiences that complement their learning by going beyond the textbook and classroom. They will see first-hand that knowledge of chemistry and art are essential to careers and hobbies such as metalsmithing, electroplating, and ceramic engineering, and artistic design. 

Sustainability: The hands-on and lab activities developed for this project will be tried, tested and revised and then made available for use by other local, state and national science and art teachers by posting them on the chemistry teacher’s website and the supporting college’s website.   The project will be shared with other teachers at the 2003 NC Science Teachers Conference.  The non-consumable equipment purchased for this project will be used for the replication of these activities and for future projects.  The partnerships established among the teachers and professionals will support future replication of the project or new and different activities.


·         September – November 2002: chemistry teacher will work with potter to develop the clay/glaze recipes that will be used by students to create the dragon fly bodies; chemistry teacher will write the student lab instructions for this series of activities; art teacher will work with college professor to organize classroom visits and use of kiln and develop the chemistry art connections that exist in the study of ceramics and metalworking.

·         December 2002: Materials and equipment will be ordered; metal smith will develop the techniques that students will use to attach the dragonfly wings to the bodies.

·         January 2003: Further collaboration among teachers and professionals to finalize activities and schedule classroom visits.

·         February 2003: Students will complete the series of lab and hands-on activities to create their dragonfly bodies.

·         May 2004: Students will complete the series of lab activities in which the anodize and electroplate the dragonfly wings; the metal smith will demonstrate to students how to work with the metals and attach them to the bodies of the dragonflies; students will make mobiles out of the dragonflies and hang them in various locations around the school and community.


Students will complete anecdotal evaluations describing what has been learned through their contact with community professionals in addition to their increased understanding of chemistry and art.  Students will be asked for suggestions on how to improve the project in the future.

Teachers and community professionals will complete evaluations describing the success of the project and make recommendations for improvement.  Evaluations will address the levels of commitment and cooperation of the teachers and the extent to which classroom practices have been enriched.

Chemistry Evaluation: Chemistry students will be tested on the understanding of chemical formula writing and nomenclature, stoichiometric and mole calculations, the periodic table, ratio mathematics and electrochemistry. Students will write formal reports for each of the labs/hands-on activities, including analysis of data and critical thinking and conclusion questions.

Art Evaluation:  Art students will be evaluated through testing and final art works produced.   They will judge their own work in a self-critique, using the Principles of Design and the Elements of Art.  The critiques will include analysis of line, texture, shape and form in ceramics and metal-working.




















Wake Education Partnership

Food For Thought

2002-2003 Teacher Grants

Budget Form






Purchased Items:





Total Cost







Description: (be as detailed as possible)












Titanium wire (2ft/dragonfly, 2 dragonflies/student) X 200 students

800 ft











Copper mesh (3 pkg/class X 8 classes)

24 pkgs











Clay Raw materials: AP Green












Red art












Gold Art












Glaze Raw materials: Frit 3124, 3131 & 3195
















































Veegum Cer












Glaze Colors: cobalt compounds












Copper carbonate












Yellow ochre












Iron oxides












Beakers (250 ml)

2 doz











Electronic Balances












Plastic containers to store glazes



$1.00 each









Paint brushes



10 sets









Plastic spatulas

3 doz











Stipend: for metalsmith












For potter












Detailed explanation should be in body of proposal
















































Donated Items: (be as detailed as possible)





Total Cost







Description: Nickel plating solution












NaOH cleaning solution












Anodizers (from another school)



$350.00 each









Wire forming plyers

6 sets







































































Donated Services: (You may not be able to quantify)





Total Cost







Description: electroplating engineer’s time












College professor’s time












Use of college’s kiln if school’s is not functioning

















































GRAND TOTAL of purchased









& donated items/services