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I’m Feeling Loopy- Musical loops, Fractals, and the Sierpinski Triangle 

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Robert Allwarden

Fractal is the name given to images, landscapes, sounds, and any other pattern that is self-similar in nature, that is, if you look at one small part, no matter how small, you get a sense of the whole picture. How can this phenomenon be seen in music and heard in music? What methods have composers used to create pieces that have similar characteristics to fractals?

Through the use of loops, ostinatos and motifs or “seeds” participants will compose original musical fractals. The “seed” will be the basic shape used to generate the fractal. This will be composed on xylophones or boomwhackers, or on a multitude of unpitched instruments such as hand drums and claves. The unfolding of the fractal will occur as these motifs are altered by musical techniques such as transposition, inversion, retrograde, retrograde inversion, augmentation and diminution. The corresponding traditional symmetry group operations used in math and science would be translation, reflection and rotation.

Discover how the structure of a natural fern is similar to a piece of music, or how the Sierpinski triangle can be used to compose a song. Even popular songs have some kinship with fractals. Come get loopy, and find out why the following quote is applicable to music. “People use the word fractal in different ways, but all agree that fractal objects contain structures nested within one another like Chinese boxes or Russian dolls” (Kandadoff, Physics Today, 1986).


The Art & Science of Observation

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Dan Bisaccio

Observation + Visual Thinking Strategies = Inquiry in the science classroom. We will actively explore the “casual observation to scientific observation” continuum through activities that engage scientific inquiry in the classroom. The first session will build on using visual thinking strategies to build student understandings and knowledge in science via observation to inquiry practices that are adaptable to elementary, middle, and high school science classrooms. During the second session, teams will produce and present a “science all around us” inquiry photo essay that focuses on a specific science learning standard that is chosen by the team.


Back to Center: Re-visiting the Educator’s Creative Zouti 

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Magdalena Gomez

The word Zouti is “toolkit” in Haitian Creole. It originates from the French, outil, meaning something to aid in a task. Zouti, ending in a vowel, gives the word a musical lilt, a reminder that there are many ways to say the same thing, giving a different feeling, providing a fresh perspective. The world of vowels and the world of consonants are very different. How we speak them, carry them, inflect them, place our tongues, and use our breath to speak all change.

In this workshop, educators will review and deepen their intuitive and cognitive skills on the intentional application of theater modalities in their curriculums to motivate and inspire students to grow in their love of learning.  In this facilitated peer learning experience, participants will re-visit, re-imagine, and re-invent theater based activities they have learned or are learning for the first time.  We will share what has worked, how activities have transformed over time, their application, and look at what is possible to make them increasingly adaptable and successful. 

This workshop process can be replicated in the classroom, with the educator facilitating the visions of their students for the application of the work across the curriculum. When students can see themselves as creative educators and respected managers of the classroom experience, the agency they feel moves them to become more deeply inspired, motivated and intentional learners.

The heart of this workshop is to allow a deeper human connection in the classroom that values and celebrates the intelligences of every student in the room regardless of scores. These activities help students to access the power and skills that nurture achievement as both personal and communal committed engagement. We will have the added bonus of evaluating and assessing the value and staying power of the arts integration experience over a four-year period. (This workshop is easily transferable to students in grades 4 through Adult.


Learning from Leonardo

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Amy Leidtke

Learning form Leonardo is an immersive and enlightening experience that focuses on how multidisciplinary Leonardo da Vinci approached thinking and making, how he observed, recorded and responded to the world around him. Participants will gain insights into the life and creations of Leonardo by closely examining his graphic work and writing, investigating the array of things that interested him – the study of life and its phenomena. They will discover that Leonardo was versed in all things related to nature, from the analytical and artistic study of anatomy, zoology and botany (biology), physics, meteorology, geology and meteorology. By seeing pages in in his journals, images of his paintings, and model replicas of his inventions, they will come to understand the significant role visual literacy played in Leonardo’s approach to systems thinking. In hands-on exercises, participants will get a sense of the range of ways Leonardo’s work can inspire children to discover concepts integral to learning and understanding. The session will culminate in a discussion, which will focus on comparing and contrasting different ways to incorporate Leonardo’s methods into exciting, content rich, hands-on curriculum that can be woven into their classrooms.


Branches of Things

Workshop will be Co-Facilitated by Amy Leidtke & Dan Bisaccio

Branching is everywhere! It is a pattern that occurs in living systems – in tree structures, in river delta formations, fractals, feathers, antlers, coral, and capillary and neurobiological systems, etc.; it occurs in neighborhoods, cities and roads; it is used to map ideas for writing and for design research; and it is used in biology terms to organize and diagram the development of species (Haeckel and Darwin). In computer science, branching is a form of an algorithm, is an instruction in a computer program that can cause a computer to begin executing a different instruction sequence. Agile software development teams can effectively collaborate by utilizing release, feature, and task branching work strategies. In chemistry, polymers can branch. Our government has executive, legislative and judicial branches. Organizational structures are often visualized in a branching chart. We see genealogist use branch diagramming to organize and see the lineage and relationships of families over generations. Complex social networks can be visualized as branching systems. Branching is the subject seen in Santiago Ramon y Cajal’s fascinating work, in which he mapped neurons of the brain. After gaining a deeper appreciation for the branches of things, working in teams or individually, participants will experience making collaboratively created 2-D or 3-D branching compositions.

Kids in Art Class

Experiencing Awe and Wonder in Science and Math

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Kurt Wootton

Many adolescents feel a lack of meaning or purpose in school and in their larger lives. In a recent study Stanford Professor William Damon found that teachers play a pivotal role in helping young people find a purpose—surprisingly all students in his study came to their sense of purpose with the influence of people outside of their immediate families. In this session we’ll examine how we can help students see the purpose in learning science and mathematics by examining the science of “awe.” We’ll discuss “statements of purpose” from Nobel-winning physicists and explore ways as a group we can help our students approach science and math with a sense of wonder.


Sing For Our Time Too: A Hero’s Journey
Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Kurt Wootton

In this workshop we’ll take an odyssey across time and space. We’ll experience a story told first about 3000 years ago about a person who faced countless adventures on his long return home from war. Then we’ll consider questions like, “What makes a hero?” “Who are the heroes in our lives?” and “Who are the heroes in this room?” Finally we’ll participate in an art installation experience that celebrates everyone in the room in a perfect kick-off to the new school year.


Bike To The Sea: A Design Journey Along The Northern Strand Community Trail 

Workshop Designed & Facilitated by Amy Leidtke and Kurt Van Dexter

Grab your helmets! Let’s ride together, using the design process to explore the significance and meaning of a real community-based bike path project – BIKE TO THE SEA.  This investigation of learning will be co-facilitated by Amy Leidtke, industrial designer, and Kurt Van Dexter, landscape architect and arts educator. Participants will learn real-world design research methods, how to work in scale, and how to rapidly sketch in three-dimensions. Everyone will make their own concept model to take back to the classroom.

The Northern Strand Community Trail (Bike To The Sea) is a corridor of opportunity linking neighborhoods and enhancing local quality of life through physical activity, sensory connection, and interaction with nature, woven through the continuity of historical context.

Participants in this workshop are immersed in the exploration and engaging experience of designing a dynamic outdoor environment. Space exists in a permanent flux, changing with time. Through a specific scope-of-work, participants will learn a formal design process that will enable them to create a detailed site plan focusing on a particular portion of the bike trail. 

This tool-kit of newly acquired STEAM skills will be based in math, science, technology and design, and will include: design research methods, spatial ergonomics, scale relationships and conversion, as well as 3D scaled conceptual modeling.  Each of the tools in this new skill set will be of practical use in the classroom, and each participant will leave this workshop with a tangible physical product and useful handouts.



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