In 2004, the UC Davis Plant Genomics Program launched the K-12 “Science through Art” education program. This project combines science instruction with art exercises to teach elementary school students about plant biology. UCD graduate students develop lesson plans and projects in collaboration with UCD faculty and local elementary school teachers. In addition to educating elementary school students in an innovative manner, graduate students learn to relay relatively complex scientific information from their own research experiences into terms that are comprehensible, exciting and fun for 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Graduate student and elementary student partnerships are further enhanced through events such as Picnic Day where students present the projects to the UC Davis community. Over 600 elementary school students have participated in this project to date.
The “Science through Art” program is led by Ruth Santer, a local artist and art teacher at Cesar Chavez elementary school. The project was generously supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Dr. Pamela Ronald, professor of plant pathology and chair of the PGP. We are grateful to Cesar Chavez parents Stacy Welsh and Mary Nicholson for their invaluable assistance and to teachers Sarah Fonte and Maite Sureda who generously shared their classrooms. We would also like to thank UCD plant pathology graduate student, Becky Bart, for her work with the children and PGP coordinator Victoria Whitworth for arranging classes and setting up the Picnic Day exhibits.
Left to right: Teacher Sarah Fonte and Principal Denise Beck of Cesar Chavez Elementary school; Artist Ruth Santer; UCD Professor and Project Leader Pam Ronald; UCD Graduate Student Becky Bart
The Art of Rice
Drawings and paintings by Cesar Chavez Elementary School students
These drawings by the 4th and 5th graders at Cesar Chavez are a colorful result of some of the children's own scientific and artistic explorations.
Jacob Muller, 5th grade, 2005 Michelle Felmlee-Gartner, 6th grade, 2005
Artist Ruth Santer and Cesar Chavez 5th grader Jacob Muller