The Science Behind Art and Literature: How We Process What We See and Hear

Author: Amanda Bridgeford

Year: 2010

Seminar: American Literature and American Painting, 1840 to 1940

Grade Level: 8-9

Keywords: Physical Science, physics, poetry

School Subject(s): Science

In Physical Science, students are expected to learn the parts of the ear and eye as part of the Physics unit. I find the way this information is presented to be very boring. We use our eyes and ears for everything we do; yet teachers are allotted but a few days to teach students about these two vital parts of their bodies. The eye and ear are part of a unit on waves, focusing on sound and light. This is very useful, but students would be more interested in the real-life applications for this topic.
An interesting way to connect the eye and ear is to focus on the science of art and literature. How do we process these two? This unit will incorporate art when we study the eye: how do we process the colors? How is the experience (viewing works of art) different for those who are colorblind? Also, to utilize the literature aspect, how do we process the words we see on the page? How do those who have disabilities (such as dyslexia) process the words and letters differently, and why? With the ear, this unit will focus on literature of various types, especially poems. Students will listen to poems and then discover how the ear (and then the brain) processes the information.  This unit is directed for 8th or 9th grade Physical Science.

Download Unit: Bridgeford-unit.pdf

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