I recently gave an invited talk/interview for a high school scientific illustration class. It was so much fun to think with them about the many ways that an illustration can operate in the world. I also chatted with them about my favorite supplies, and why I think sketching is a valuable part of training in science and related fields.
I teach numerous Sketching for Scientists workshops each semester, for faculty, students, and science/science-allied professionals beyond academia. Each time, we do a lively, evidence-based crash course in habits of mind and foundational drawing techniques. I keep the focus tightly on integrating drawing with doing and sharing science, and for faculty, there is an additional coaching element where I help them think through curricular planning that can make grading feasible and productive and convincingly convey the value and utility of drawing for learning science.
Each time I run these workshops, I share a list of the techniques we’ve discussed, as a memory aid.
Here’s that list, in case it’s also helpful for you!
This invited commentary in Nature is a pep-talk for science educators considering integrating drawing into their science teaching and assessment. The full article is available for free here.
Excerpt: “Fundamentally, creativity is a whole-brain process, and artists and scientists use the same parts of their brains to do complex, creative tasks. Ensuring that students understand the value of drawing can help motivate them to draw.
When my colleagues try to integrate drawing into their laboratory and field courses, however, they frame their motives more matter-of-factly. For example, one biology-lab coordinator noticed that students mainly interact with specimens by photographing them. She suspected that students did not gain much from taking these photos, on the basis of their exam scores.”
Full citation: Invited. Merkle, B.G. 2018. Perspective: Drawn to Science. Outlook: Science and Technology Education. Nature 562: S8-S9. doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-06832-0.
This summer, a publication I led was published in the academic journal Natural Sciences Education. Like other resources I’ve shared, this article aims to ‘demystify’ the use of drawing for teaching and learning in science classrooms.
While the paper reports on ways of doing this in university classes, the advice, examples, and resources in the article will be equally useful for K-12 educators.
Journalist Sara Sneath* of the New Orleans Times-Picayune recently featured ecologists who sketched their study organisms as part of an impromptu, humorous initiative led by Dr. Solomon R. David* (Nicholls State University). Sneath’s front page story details how ecologists responded to the call to sketch their study organism using the MS Paint program and their nondominant hand. My take – that doing #sciart is a valuable skill and that skill set can be developed with practice – was included in both the online and print versions of the article. Keep reading for some background. Continue reading “Scientists’ SciArt featured by The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)”