Chemistry Project Finds a Place on Intl Art Piece

Chemistry Project Finds East a Place on International Art Piece
Posted on 03/01/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Chemistry Project Finds East a Place on International Art Piece

collage of chemistry project on periodic tableAn historical international fixture hanging in the Science Teaching Complex at the University of Waterloo Canada will forever be stamped with the artwork of a Lakota East student.

East was one of just 118 schools, from 26 different countries, invited to collaborate on an art piece to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Dmitri Mendeleev’s creation of the periodic table of elements. Each school was tasked with developing a design that embodied their assigned element. The designs from all over the world will be transferred to ceramic tiles and arranged as a timeline, based on their discovery dates.

“It’s one of the first pieces of art I’ve created that is going to be shown to so many people,” said East junior Hailey Holtman, whose design for the sulfur was selected to represent East. The challenge tapped into her shared passion for both chemistry and art. “It was a really non-traditional art project.”

East Chemistry teacher Liz Gosky first heard about the opportunity at the biennial Conference on Chemical Education that she attended last summer at Notre Dame. She submitted the application, thinking it would be a great project to spark conversation about science.

“I think it is amazing to celebrate something that is 150 years old and still is probably our most used resource in chemistry classes,” Gosky said. “I think the kids gained an appreciation for what an amazing discovery the periodic table really is.”

The international art project actually sparked an idea between Gosky and physics teacher John Severns that would involve an even deeper study of the entire periodic table and establish a fixture for Lakota East’s own walls.

Students worked in pairs to research and then depict the spirit of their assigned element. Similar to the University of Waterloo project, the designs were combined to form an oversized depiction of the periodic table just outside of both teachers’ classrooms.

“The periodic table is something that everyone is familiar with, as it hangs in every science classroom,” Gosky said. “I think this helped bring it to life and gave it some more meaning. Kids could see that the elements really are parts of everyday objects and ‘stuff’ that they work with and use everyday. I think it definitely helped spark some conversations about practical uses of elements and chemistry in our world.”