Science Illustration

Students Aid Conservation Through Science Illustration!


Great Collaborations: Science + Art

During the 2013 spring semester, Politi Elementary students took on the theme of great collaborations between science and art. First they examined cave paintings from 30,000 years ago by going on a virtual expedition into the Chauvet Cave in France with an interdisciplinary team (biologists, geologists, anthropologists, art historians, and artists). Students then created their own cave paintings using methods similar to the original cave artists: direct observation of nature and memory, and charcoal and earth pigments as media. For our second adventure, we virtually explored the libraries of medieval Europe to find illuminated manuscripts. Students learned that every book used to be copied by hand, making each one a great treasure. Students then studied calligraphy and graphic design in order to create their own illuminated manuscripts about California wildlife, using parchment, calligraphy pens, and colored pencils. For our final adventure of the school year, students virtually joined William Beebe (scientist) and Else Bostelmann (artist) in 1930s Bermuda to explore deep sea habitat. We learned how the bathysphere worked to help humans explore habitat over 3000 feet below the ocean’s surface, and we studied the adaptations that deep sea animals have to survive in their environment (bioluminescence, reliance on their sense of touch, bodies able to withstand great pressure). Check out our Cave Painting, Illuminated Manuscript, and Deep Sea Adventure Galleries!

Bat Illustration Workshop

In the fall of 2012, students in grades 4-5 (and one 2nd-grader!) at Leo Politi Elementary studied how bats work. Students virtually explored caves, learned how bats use echolocation to find prey, and studied the important ecological services that bats provide (like pollination and seed dispersal). Students also explored how bats have inspired culture, including poetry, visual arts, and music. The exciting illustrations that students produced can be viewed at the Bat Illustration Gallery.

Habitat Time Travel - Los Angeles 

 In the spring of 2012, students in grades 3-5 at Leo Politi Elementary studied the wildlife species that likely inhabited the Los Angeles area hundreds of years ago and species that live here now. Embarking on two multi-sensory virtual hikes, students explored habitats (coastal sage scrub, grassland, oak woodland, riparian, and wetland) and learned how native wildlife was (and is) adapted to survive in these habitats. A few of the concepts covered included echolocation, eye-shine, food web relationships, amphibian metamorphosis, and learning to identify animals using tracks and vocalizations. The outstanding work that students produced can be viewed at the Habitat Time Travel Gallery.