Four Dimensions in Physics and Arts (LS-GR-98)

This is an interdisciplinary learning scenario combining the courses of Physics and Art History, by making use of augmented reality (AR) to explore four dimensions. The main objective is to combine a variety of elements from the two above-mentioned courses in order to examine the dimensions of width, height, depth and time as presented and taught in Physics lessons, from a different perspective than the Arts.

Concept

The students explore, analyze, compare and recognize different approaches of the shaping of the human body in Greek sculpture. They notice differences of proportions and explore different approaches to the body through the Greek canon.

Through Europeana’s art collections, students would have the chance to study how the four dimensions of physics have been attributed over the centuries. They also investigate the new concepts learned by using an Augmented Reality (AR) app which will give them the chance to “control” time and space variables and make changes to the (virtual) painting of the painter. The teaching approach applied is inquiry-based learning (IBL), as in the Physics lessons of secondary school. This scenario was part of the Erasmus + European Program: Augmented and Virtual Reality in Education.

Activities

The activity starts with an introduction with a video. Students then discuss the dimensions in physics and explore the concept of 3 dimensions and 4 dimensions. They also discover how the 4 dimensions were approached by various trends in art, from cubism to surrealism. Then, they work in pairs investigating four dimensions in different paintings found in Europeana collections. They also investigate the four dimensions in Arts by using Van Gogh’s Stargate Star (Starry Night) app.

The pupils constructed new knowledge, learning about new concepts, such as the artistic trends of Impressionism and Surrealism. They mainly worked in groups of two in each activity. The innovative teaching sources of Europeana and augmented reality (AR) app clearly boosted their motivation for participation, as well as their interest in learning about the four dimensions applied in science and art.

Conclusions

Both teaching sources seemed to offer one of the most important elements of learning: motivation. In addition, students mentioned that the sources helped them approach space-time abstract concepts in an interesting and creative way.

IBL was an effective and engaging method, helping students to understand the four dimensions in Physics and Arts. The students were active listeners as well as co-workers, sharing ideas and collaborating. Along with the students, I found myself discovering new sources, designing prototype teaching material, as well as exchanging ideas with colleagues thanks to this project.

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