Are Artists Designers?

Even when we have “free build” in design lab, we design for a reason. We have to think: who did I design for? What problem am I trying to fix? What does my creation do? Why did I choose it? Where will it be used?

During a lively discussion about different types of designers, some fourth graders were thinking about whether artists are designers. What does it mean to be a designer? Students came to the conclusion that designers usually aim to solve a problem. So, what problem do artists solve? Eitan responded, “Artists solve the problem of not enough beauty.”

Students at JCDSRI are thoughtful and curious about how they can impact the world.

An example of the ability of the young designers and artists at JCDSRI is shown in a recent design challenge. In making cardboard chairs come to life, students were given the design challenge: “How might we design these (very plain) cardboard chairs so that they display our unique quaIMG_6820lities as humans and demonstrate our learning outcomes from this year?” Below are some photos or the chairs that bring more beauty to the world, straight from the hands of young designers.

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Full STEAM Ahead

On Friday, March 4th, the fourth grade class visited the studio of Rhode Island based artist Donald Gerola. His sculptures can be seen in various locations around Providence and around the world! We were given the unique opportunity to see where he creates and learn more about his style. We explored his amazing steel sculptures (some of which are over 30 feet tall!!), his prototypes, and paintings made with mixtures of sand, pigment, and natural materials. It was affirming to see that “real artists” use some of the same strategies we use when creating. Just like us, Mr. Gerola makes models and plans for his work, shares his ideas with other people, and works in collaboration with others to bring his ideas to life.


It was such a privilege to spend the morning with Donald, and we are so grateful that he opened his studio to us!

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STEAM in Action: Laurence Humier Visit

In late January, Laurence Humier, a Be24306780639_1ff6d87552_klgian architectural engineer who works in Milan, presented to our parents on the topic “Science and Young Children.” Ms. Humier’s work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, and she was recently honored with the title of Knight of Merit Walloon by the Belgian government. Her work combines expressiveness, experimentation, science and art in unique ways.

Ms. Humier spent a full 24378947170_d217ae8c20_kday working with students in Kindergarten through Grade 5, leading them in an exploration of the properties of common household ingredients (such as baking powder, cornstarch, and talcum powder). After investigating the reactions and textures produced by combining various ingredients with colored water, the students created their own mixtures to construct self-portraits.

The students learned a lot, got their hands dirty, and had a ball! 24647497236_fc7bda4d3f_k