Education Laboratory School

Erin Baumgartner's 9th grade marine biology students at the Education Laboratory School in Honolulu have been studying intertidal organisms for the past year. For their Picturing Science projects, students took photographs of their assigned organism during field trips, created paintings from their photographs, and combined scientific fact and creative writing to develop a persuasive "caption" that says something about the importance of their intertidal organism.

Before starting on the photography, art, and writing portions of this project, students created a word board about intertidal environments. Students mind-mapped concepts and vocabulary they had been developing in marine biology class throughout the year.

After taking photographs at a field trip to the Pupukea Marine Conservation Area in April, students used oil pastels to draw a creative rendition of the organisms they had been studying all year. Using their photographs and art, students were guided through writing about their organism, coming up with a "caption" that tells the viewer of their photography and art why the organism is important to the intertidal and how it contributes to our environment. The captions were based on the type of writing found in a magazine like National Geographic, where photographers and writers use images and words to make a point, which is based in scientific fact and told using creative literary elements. Students were instructed to begin their caption with a statement that draws the reader in, using metaphor, analogies, and other writing techniques and to complete it with scientific facts based on what they had been studying in class all year.

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