Grade 4 Creates Circuited Quilt to Honor Black History

Fourth-grade students incorporate LED technology into a comprehensive art/history project.

Visiting Innovator Leah Buechley left a lasting impression on our campus, as demonstrated by the latest project combining art and technology, as well as history, at the Bryan Innovation Lab.

During Black History Month in February, fourth-grade students studied The Migration Series by Jacob Lawrence, a collection of small tempera paintings that depict the multi-decade mass movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, starting around 1915. After discussing the meaning and context of the series, students each chose one painting to reproduce on fabric during art class with Lower School art teacher Lynn Zinder.

Mrs. Zinder had always intended to sew the pieces together to create a large quilt, but after Ms. Buechley’s visit to campus, she decided to incorporate technology into the project by having students add circuits with LED lights to their artwork.

“Fourth grade has already done so much with [learning about] circuits, so I thought it would be a great extension of the project,” she said. “Through this project, students are learning to appreciate art while increasing their familiarity with technology.”

This week, students worked with Mrs. Zinder, Director of the Bryan Innovation Lab Cary Jamieson, and Bryan Innovation Lab Lead Technologist Shane Diller to correctly install the circuits on their individual quilt pieces. Some students placed the LEDs to make it appear as if a torch or fire is being lit up in their painting, while others simply use the LEDs to decorate the border of their piece.

“I think it’s cool that you can set off a light just by touching a battery,” said fourth-grade student Maya Trepp. “It looks like it’s coming out of the artwork.”

Once the pieces are strung together, the circuited quilt will be on display in the Bryan Innovation Lab.





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