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Arts and Science courses work together on project

By   Dana Zinke

This past spring, Lake Region State College experienced a twist to the standard coursework. Biology II and Drawing II classes collaborated on a project to merge the two diverse subjects.

Many students that enroll in science classes do not always take art classes, and vice versa – which is why two instructors at Lake Region, Shaun Prince and Deb Carlson, worked together to create a curriculum that allowed the students to learn what they typically would in a manner that connects to the other subject and introduce students to a different path of learning.

The project was made possible through funding from the NDCCC. NDCCC  is sponsored by the North Dakota University System (NDUS) with the purpose of fostering innovation, cooperative, and ongoing development opportunities for all faculty members by improving teaching and learning strategies within all disciplines.

The Biology students were exposed to basic drawing lessons on contour drawing, value, and how it makes shapes in color or black and white come to life. Art students were exposed to the basic concepts of germinating seeds, growing conditions, plant structures, and basic botany terminology. The students then captured this visually in their journals by using thumb-nail sketches of the germination process.

More than 30 students participated in the class collaboration. The final project consisted of their graded journals, as well as a 40 foot mural that they worked on together to create. This mural will be displayed to the community and campus to show the successful collaboration between science and art departments. Student artwork also was displayed at semester end to the campus.

“The partnership was a great success,” Carlson and Prince said. Both the students and the instructors enjoyed the combination of the two courses. Carlson and Prince plan to share their experience with other faculty in the North Dakota University System.