I was preparing to introduce basic chemistry concepts to my biology students so that we could build on them to a deeper understanding of the types of bonds and how they form in living things. On the day of our first introduction to the basics of the periodic table, I told students I was going to show them a short video clip and that I wanted them to simply write down any science/chemistry related word they recognized as they watched. After the video, each group shared their words and discussed them, looking for similarities and differences. I asked each group to share out a burning question and something that stood out to them as particularly interesting as they watched the video, something that struck them.
And this is where it got interesting. Students asked about Pataki’s art:
- How does she make the pegboards?
- What is vertical gardening and what local companies do that?
- How is it different being a neon artist versus owning a neon sign company?
- What other art does she do? Where can I see it?
- Was she a scientist first before doing this art?
Students also immediately began to make connections between their word lists, Meryl’s work, and the very large periodic table in the front of our room that we haven’t looked at deeply in any content related way just yet. Why is neon is called a noble gas? What does it mean to be reactive? What is a patina? Where does the color in the gas tubes come from, why do they happen? Does every element do this?