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And now, the periodic table in oil paints

Alice's post about Brainiac reminded me of the scores of other kids' shows that specialise in make-based learning, by showing experiments, recipes or art projects of varying quality and educational value… (I should note that Brainiac claims the exact opposite, that we are not supposed to imitate their stunts.)
It got me thinking about a project I will teach at Reading in mid-November, which I am still working on, but which will broadly involve design for science instruction, for active learning. It will involve information design and book design, to create 'book-like objects' demonstrating scientific principles through experiment or activity.
Through thinking about the possibilities for this project, it occured to me that drawing is an under-developed resource in this genre. Why not use drawing, which requires re-iteration of knowledge, to teach? So many basic concepts in the sciences are inherently visual. Drawing, for example, a close-up of an animal cell, or a cross-section of the earth with layers, or an atom… this seems to have some potential, by involving readers through curiosity for the subject or a penchant for drawing. Similarly, it would be nice to see some of these TV shows bridge the gap between science and the use of 'art' in make-based learning: illustration, painting, and other media.


I agree wholeheartedly about the potential for art/science/make&do crossover, and indeed many of the things we used to do on The Big Bang (a CITV show that ran for nine years up to 2004) could fall loosely into that category. However, 'art show' was even more of a children's TV niche than 'science show,' and if you weren't Neil Buchanan you had basically no chance.

However, my gripes are all a bit moot now, since children's factual TV is, to a first approximation, dead. How2 and Art Attack, for example, are no more, and have not been replaced. See http://www.savekidstv.org.uk/ for more details, but the short version is that we can no longer rely on broadcast television to expose the mass audience to a wide range of stimuli.

This probably isn't the place for me to soapbox on the issue, however...

that's a really interesting point. I remember loads of drawing in science lessons at school, in fact a few people did A-level biology because they liked art.

medical education - there are colour-in anatomy books.