April 2016 newsletter: “Drawing enhances memory” + summer reading ideas

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Click image to view full newsletter.

April Table of Contents

  • Sketching Tip: Plan ahead
  • Artful Science: Research article-drawing improves memory
  • Artful Classrooms: Tips for facilitating sketching in the classroom
  • Sketchbook Snapshot: Prepping for East Africa
  • News & Events:
    – Order fulfillment suspended April 29-May 31
    – Co-teaching at two educator professional development institutes
    – Writing projects online + summer workshops

What do science writing and sketching have to do with each other? Wyoming EPSCoR asked me…

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I was recently interviewed for the Wyoming EPSCoR program’s blog.

In addition to a number of questions specific to the nature of sketching workshops I teach, Jess White from EPSCoR asked a thought-provoking question about how drawing contributes to my writing. It was a question I’d never consciously considered before, and I was delighted to be compelled to do so.

Little of that aspect of the interview made it into the final article, which is how interviews often go – there’s only room for so much, and no matter how interesting a tangent may be, it may not sync well with the dominant theme of the article.

So, here’s the “how sketching influences my writing” out-take.

Continue reading What do science writing and sketching have to do with each other? Wyoming EPSCoR asked me…

Project Snapshot: Ecological Principles & Children’s Books

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While working on my project on ecological concepts in picture books, I’ve come across some fascinating research about using picture books to teach science.

Here are a couple points that are particularly interesting:

  • Talking animals can confuse children’s understanding of why/how animals do things. (Ganea et al 2014)
  • Children don’t differentiate between fact and fiction unless guided to do so. Books presented by adults are viewed as equally authoritative, and fantasy books can lead to children developing faulty explanations for themselves. (Owens 2003; behind a paywall – contact author for reprint)

 

 

Video of my SciArt talk about Drawing, Creativity, and Science

Two weeks ago, I gave a seminar to the University of Wyoming Zoology & Physiology Department.

Illustration: student disecting a fishEntitled Drawn to Science: Exploring the Historical and Contemporary Synergies between Drawing, Creativity, and Science, my talk roved through history, technologies that have influenced art and science, and looked at research and examples of how art and science
can do much more than make data look pretty.

Click here to view the talk! It’s about an hour long, including the Q&A following my presentation.

 

 

 

Sketchbook Snapshot: Tortoises & Hares

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Sketching Antelope Jackrabbits and Black-tailed Jackrabbits – yes jackrabbits = hares – at the U of A Natural History Museum. (c) BGMerkle, 2016
As part of my MFA thesis, I’m working on an art-science project about tortoises and hares and the ecosystems where the two coexist: “The Ecologically True Story of the Tortoise and the Hare.” One of those places just happens to be the Sonoran Desert, just south of where my husband grew up. So, while we were in Arizona over the holidays, I headed to that tortoise-and-hare desert.

Continue reading Sketchbook Snapshot: Tortoises & Hares