Fine Tuning – STEAM Lesson Inspired by Nathalie Miebach


So last year, I was lucky enough to attend the MAEA conference in Boston, where Nathalie Miebach was the keynote speaker.  I learned about her work a bit earlier in the year while taking a Contemporary Art class with Lois Hetland at the EDCO Collaborative in Bedford, MA.

After the keynote, it was obvious I needed to develop a unit inspired by the woven sculptures she creates using a variety of scientific data.  If you are not familiar with her work, I suggest you check out her Ted Talk! I actually use this video in my introduction to this unit with my fourth graders.

So, this unit has required lots of trouble-shooting along the way….I don’t think it’s quite ready to be shared out, as I still need to fine tune how I manage my students data collection, but I think I’m getting there.  I’ll be teaching it again soon when my next group of fourth graders come to extra art at the end of this month, so I’m thinking some time in January I will be able to share the steps, tips, and finished photographs!

For now, check out how hard my students have been working by viewing the in-process photographs below. They are using weather data stored on our class iPads, and weaving their pouch based on the color they’ve assigned for a particular data range (typically temperature related).


The Dream Rocket Collaborative Fiber Art


Last spring I received an email, about participating in The Dream Rocket project, which is a project organized by The International Fiber Collaborative (IFC).

The IFC “was formed to create deeper learning experiences through art, collaboration, and cross-curricular themed programming for individuals and their communities. IFC’s current initiative, The Dream Rocket Project (DRP) launched in 2009, is collecting 8,000 works of art that will be stitched together to wrap a Saturn V Moon Rocket replica at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama for a temporary public art exhibition. So far, we have received submissions from individuals residing in 17 countries, 46 states and 363 communities.”

I decided to work with a new teacher to my school, because she has a love of all things fiber, just like I do. In the few classes we’ve had since school has started, we’ve had students research, with their parents help, their heritage.  With that information students searched for the flags that correspond to their heritage, which served as our color inspiration.  Students then created a 4″ radial symmetrical mandala type embroidery.  These 4″ circles will be attached to create our 2’x2′ ‘flag’

Dream Rocket 1 Our collaborative artwork will be on display locally at the Lowell National Historical Museum from Oct 1 – Nov 30.  After the exhibit it will be returned to the IFC to keep safe until it installed on the Saturn V Moon Rocket replica in Alabama and displayed through May 1 – June 30, 2015.

If you are interested in participating, I believe they are still seeking submissions for the MAY 2015 Dream Rocket Installation, U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL May 1 – Jun 30, 2015. The art deadline is March 15, 2015.  Check the website for more detailed information.