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This curriculum focuses on the thinking skills that connect artists and scientists and includes four student explorations, each with a designated theme, vocabulary word, skill, and career focus. You can implement these lessons over the course of four days, or make adaptations to create stand-alone activities.

In Exploration #1, students practice close observation and consider how naturalists might use this skill. After using their observational skills to study natural specimens and make scientific drawings, they then use their imaginations to create hypotheses based on observed characteristics and draw environments for their specimens.

In Exploration #2, students discuss the role of conservators in protecting museum objects. They set up an investigation to find out how effective different materials are in blocking sunlight and protecting a piece of construction paper from fading. The results of the investigation are revealed in Exploration #4.

In Exploration #3, students explore, analyze, and communicate about the exhibits on view at the California Academy of Sciences and the de Young, developing strategies that can be used to explore any art or science museum. Students compare and contrast  the use of light in two very different gallery contexts and study how an architect might consider the role of light in an exhibit.

In Exploration #4, students analyze the results of their decomposition investigation from Exploration #2. They then use the knowledge they gained about the materials to create an artistic composition.

Lesson Plans

Exploration #1
Exploration #2
Exploration #3
Exploration #4

Student Journal

View and download the worksheet pages.