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Project Director: Catherine McCluskey

Title: The Chemistry of Art through Paper, Paint and Jewelry

Budget Request: $10,000.00

Abstract

According to the National Science Education Standards, science should be “…relevant to students’ lives; emphasize student understanding through inquiry; and be connected to other school subjects.”  This project will meet these challenges and the Tapestry requirements as the laws, principles and concepts of chemistry are related to students’ everyday life experiences and interests involving the production and creative design of paper, paint and jewelry.

A chemist from Union Carbide will guide students in the preparation of various pigments and binders, requiring them to apply the chemistry topics of solutions, solubility, types of reactions, product predictions, formula writing, and balancing equations.  Through inquiry investigations, students will determine which combination of pigment and binder makes the best paint. 

Students will make paper from various types of materials, calculating the mass percent of solute and solvent for each type of paper.  Using Calculator Based Lab (CBL) technology, students will determine the pH of the different pulp mixtures they make.  Applying the concepts of oxidation and reduction, students will investigate different bleaching agents used to whiten the papers made.  Through inquiry, students will determine how the pH of paper and a natural dye affect the color of the paper and the dye. 

A jewelry artist and an engineer certified in electroplating will facilitate students in the production of an original copper ring and zinc pin.  Using CBL technology, students will determine the properties of various metals and predict which metals would make the best jewelry.  By constructing electrochemical cells to electroplate their jewelry, students will identify the parts of each cell, balance oxidation-reduction reactions and calculate cell voltages.

Rationale

This project originated as a means for East Wake High School chemistry teachers to meet the challenges set by the National Science Education Standards that science should be “…relevant to students’ lives; emphasize student understanding through inquiry; and be connected to other school subjects.”  This project will meet these challenges and the Tapestry requirements by relating the laws, principles and abstract concepts and calculations of chemistry to students’ everyday life experiences and interests involving the production and creative design of paper, paint and jewelry. Such interactive activities will enhance student learning by bringing creativity and insight to the discipline of chemistry and method and order to the discipline of art. Engaging students in inquiry based activities will encourage them to question, seek answers and make connections among the chemistry and artistic principles involved in making paper, preparing paints and designing jewelry; as a result student understanding of chemistry will increase.

In addition students need to be prepared for the increasingly scientific and technological world of the 21st century.  They must be critical thinkers, problem solvers and skillful in communication, teamwork and the use of technology. This project addresses this challenge by providing opportunities for chemistry and art students to work cooperatively and witness the professional chemists, jewelry artist and teachers working as a team.  Students will use CBL technology in the collection and analysis of experimental data.  Student participation in these hands-on investigations will increase their potential for critical thinking and problem solving as they analyze, evaluate and communicate their experimental data and results.

This project will provide students with access to the world beyond the classroom as professional chemists and a jewelry artist facilitate students’ study of the connections between chemistry and art.

Potential Impact

Learning is a process of making connections and understanding relationships and is best accomplished by students when this process is interesting, relevant to their lives and FUN.  The first goal of this project is to increase student understanding of chemistry and art by applying the principles and concepts of each discipline to the real-world production of paper, paint and jewelry.  By participating in hands-on inquiry-based activities, approximately 220 chemistry students and 20 art students will combine thinking with doing.  As a result, the percentage of students scoring a superior rating on the End-Of-Course Chemistry Exam will increase over last year’s scores.

The second goal is to provide students with answers to the often asked question, “How will I ever use what I’ve learned in school?”  The partnerships created among the classroom teachers, professional chemists and jewelry artist will provide students with knowledge and experiences that extend and complement their learning experiences in school.  Through the classroom visits made by the chemists and artist, students will see first-hand that the knowledge of chemistry concepts are essential even in careers such as art. 

The third goal is to facilitate student understanding of chemical concepts and calculations through laboratory experiences. Students will develop their critical thinking skills as they draw conclusions from experimental data.  CBL technology will be used to collect and evaluate data, as well as being a link between scientific analyses and emerging technological practices in professional fields. 

Fostering new partnerships among classroom teachers and community professionals is the fourth goal. The professional chemists and jewelry artist will serve as subject resources, consultants and mentors as they collaborate with three chemistry teachers and one art teacher to develop activities that revolve around the real-world production of paint, paper and jewelry.

Description    

Students begin their integrated study of chemistry and art by investigating the properties and preparation of paint.  In Paint Activity #1, students will compare paints as they relate to saturated, unsaturated and supersaturated solutions.  Using paint solutions made at different temperatures, they will discover the effects of temperature on solubility and color intensity and then create pictures depicting the properties and preparations of solutions. In Paint Activity #2, students will compare and contrast the chemical and physical properties of watercolor, poster paint and acrylic paint. In Paint Activity #3, a chemist from Union Carbide will guide students in the laboratory preparation of paint pigments and binders and share information about his career as a chemist.  Students will prepare paint pigments by precipitation reactions, combustion of hydrocarbons and the formation of colloids.  These preparations will require students to predict reaction types and products, write formulas, balance equations, and distinguish between homogeneous, heterogeneous and colloidal solutions.  Students will evaluate various binders for the physical properties of viscosity, texture and adhesion.  Using methods of inquiry, students will determine which combination of pigment and binder makes the best paint.

In the second part of this project, students investigate the chemical and artistic aspects of making paper.  In Paper Activity #1, students will make paper from various types of materials and evaluate the physical qualities of each type of paper.  For each type of paper made, students will calculate grams of solute and grams of solvent for a particular mass percent solution.  Students will use Calculator Based Lab (CBL) technology to determine if the different paper pulp mixtures are acidic or basic. In Paper Activity #2, students will apply the rules for assigning oxidation numbers and writing balanced oxidation-reduction equations as they investigate different bleaching agents used to whiten the papers made.  In Paper Activity #3, students will use methods of inquiry to determine how the pH of paper and a natural dye affect the color of the paper and the dye.  After completing the paint and paper activities, students will use the paints and papers they made to create an original work of art based on a previously researched chemistry theme.

The third component of this project will involve the making of jewelry.  In Jewelry Activity #1, students will determine the chemical and physical properties of various metals.  Specific properties that will be investigated will include color, malleability, specific heat capacity, electrical conductivity, density, and the reactions of the metals with oxygen, with water and with acid.  CBL technology will be used to gather the data necessary to calculate specific heat capacities and measure electrical conductivity and cell voltages.  Based on their experimental data students will predict the metals that would best be used to make jewelry.   In Jewelry Activity #2, students will be taught the proper use of jewelry making equipment and learn about jewelry making as a career by the jewelry artist.  Students will then make an original copper ring and zinc ornamental pin.  Wax will be used to add designs and patterns to create the final designs of the ring and pin.  Jewelry Activity #3 will begin with a visit from an engineer, certified in electroplating from a local electroplating company, who will explain to students how his company uses chemistry to manufacture a product and advise students on system designs for electroplating. Students will construct a cell for electroplating the copper ring and a cell to electroplate the zinc pin.  Students will identify the anode, cathode, and direction of electron and ion flow for each cell.  Balanced chemical half-reactions and overall oxidation reduction equations will be written for the reactions that take place in the electrochemical cells and the calculated voltage will be compared to the observed voltage for each cell.  From the experimental data, students will discuss the best conditions for electroplating jewelry.

 

 

Evaluation

·        Chemistry students will be required to submit detailed reports for each lab activity they complete in order to assess their understanding of abstract chemical principles and concepts.  Each student’s report will be written according to a rubric that will include Title, Purpose, Procedure, Data Table(s), Calculations, Critical Thinking Questions, and Conclusion. 

·        Students will be tested on the chemistry principles and concepts that include solutions, physical and chemical properties, balancing equations, types of reactions and product predictions, oxidation-reduction reactions, electrochemistry, acids, bases and pH, and CBL technology.

·        The percentage of students scoring superior ratings on the End-of-Course Exam will increase compared to scores from the previous year.

·        At the end of the project, chemistry students will be surveyed to measure the goals of (1) their degree of interest and involvement, (2) making chemistry more relevant to their lives through the integration of chemistry and art, and (3) connecting the knowledge of chemistry concepts to different careers.

·        Using pre- and post- questionnaires, students will evaluate classroom practices according to; (1) the application of chemistry concepts to the real world, and (2) their understanding of chemistry concepts through lab activities.

·        Art students will be evaluated through testing and final artworks produced.

·        The number of teachers that attend each planning meeting and the project activities that are completed at each meeting will be documented.  One hundred percent participation in planning and activities from each teacher will be expected.

·        The number of days that the professional chemists and jewelry artist meet with the teachers and the students will be documented.

Project Calendar

 

June – July 2000

·        Project Director will prepare first drafts of all of the lab activities.

·        Professional chemists and jewelry artist will be consulted in the preparation of these activities.

 

 

August 2000

·        Chemistry teachers and Art teacher will meet to review drafts of activities.

 

 

September 2000

·        Project Director will prepare revised drafts of activities.

 

 

October 2000

·        Chemistry teachers and Art teacher will meet to review revised drafts.

 

 

November 2000

·        Teachers will meet with the professional chemists and jewelry artist to review activities and make recommended changes.

 

 

December 2000

·        Projector Director will order equipment and supplies.

 

 

January 2001

·        Project activities will be field tested by teachers.

·        Professional chemists and jewelry artist will be contacted and specific dates will be set for their visits with the students.

 

 

February – April 2001

·        Students will be given pre-questionnaires.

·        Students will perform lab activities.

·        Professional chemists and jewelry artists visit with students to direct lab activities and share about their professions.

 

 

May 2001

·        Students will be given project surveys and post-questionnaires.

·        End-Of- Course test scores will be compared to previous year’s scores.

·        Chemistry teachers and art teacher will meet to evaluate project.