In this STEAM lesson for grades 4-5, students will be connecting science and art using a variety of solvents and oil pastels. This is a wonderful way to begin studying chemistry and understanding how science is applied in a variety of ways, including in and through art work.
This lesson starts off with an experiment so that students can begin with a problem and formulate a hypothesis. This is obviously how most scientists begin, but it’s also how most artists begin as well. Once students understand how the 3 solvents dissolve and how the molecules attract and interact with each other, they can apply this knowledge to a new medium: oil pastels.
Oil pastels provide a perfect medium for intermediate students to explore the various properties of artistic mediums and how they can be manipulated by the artist.
In this lesson, students are experimenting not only with the solvents, but also with ways that they can create different colors and textures within their own designs using the solvents with the oil pastels.
Exploring the Art of Stained Glass and Solvents
The other exciting element to this lesson is the study of Stained Glass – specifically Tiffany Glass. Louis Comfort Tiffany developed and produced his famous glass between 1878 and 1933. In this lesson, students have the opportunity to see how Tiffany experiments with different ways that glass could be improved upon.
Students can view these 8 different types of glass that Tiffany used:
- Ring Mottle
They can then experiment with their solvents to see if/how they can recreate these textures using their oil pastels and their own stained glass pattern.
Scientific Artist Statement
Finally, one of the highlights of this lesson is the assessment itself. Often, we ask students to create artist statements about their work. In this twist, we’re asking students to share both the scientific process and end result, as well as the artistic qualities and process.
For more ideas like this, be sure to check out all of our free Arts Integration lessons!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.