P8: Chemistry and Art as an experiential course: teaching chemistry in the context of art to stimulate students’ understanding of chemistry and interest in art

Author: Natalia Smelkova, Ferrum College, USA


Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:25 PM2:45 PM

Room: MAN 102

Related Symposium: S2

Chemistry might be challenging for some students especially for non-science majors. One of the ways to overcome this obstacle is to teach chemistry in a more familiar for non-science majors context, such as, for example, Art. “Chemistry and Art” course that I have recently taught at our college was designed to help to address this issue. After attending two cCWCS workshops (the CWCS Chemistry and Art Workshop at Washington and Lee University and the Advanced Chemistry and Art at Villanova University) I have revised Chemistry curriculum and taught this course as a new course at the end of academic year in May 2012. While teaching this course I have extensively used workshop materials, lectures as well as laboratories, provided by the organizers of the workshops. Overall there were eleven students, half of which were non-science majors. We had three weeks completely dedicated to this course, during which students were introduced to major concepts of Chemistry and their application in Art; and also with Venetian School of painting and history of that period. The course was concluded with a two-day field trip to the National Gallery in Washington and subsequent preparation of a poster case study on a particular artist chosen by students.