Combining The Arts and Science

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Taking their classroom knowledge to another level. Students at Parkersburg Catholic Elementary School are combining science with dance.

These students aren't just playing around in gym class. They're actually in the middle of an important lesson plan.

"We learn many different ways. We learn not only visually and auditorly, but we also learn using tactile methods. They're using their entire bodies to learn how ocean currents move," Erin Augenstein with Parkersburg Catholic Schools says.

Students and teachers are learning about science in a whole new light. It's all part of a challenge grant showing the importance of arts in schools.

"You're challenged to meld art content with science, technology, engineering, and math content standards," Augenstein says.

Today's lesson plan.....The Great Barrier Reef.

"They're working on their own ocean currents like you would see around The Great Barrier Reef. They're learning things in the classroom about The Great Barrier Reef, about photosynthesis all of the science and math standards that have to do with that and right now currently they're mixing that with the arts standard and learning it through a dance form," Augenstein adds.

Students act out the motions of the reef, and helping out with the choreography is the West Virginia Dance Company.

"We learned the bottom floor, middle floor, and upper floor, and we're doing shapes on the levels," says student Jenna.

"Make sure they're getting the arts education or at least exposure to it to show them that there are different avenues and different ways of learning," WV Dance Company member, Donald Laney says.

And students are excited about getting out of the classroom and learning hands on.

"What I normally do is set at my desk and read or write. This is getting out and exercising," says student Paul.

The West Virginia Dance Company also performed Monday afternoon for the students. The theme of the dance was "all around the world."

The grant is The Arts and Education Grant from The Community Foundation funded by The Benedum Foundation.

First and second grade students will also participate in an arts and science combo by going to Olgebay to learn about insects.

Teachers will receive $150 for supplies to continue combining arts and science in the classroom.

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