Drawn to Natural History: Enhancing Field Courses with Drawing and Field Journal Instruction.
Merkle, B.G., B. Barber, and M. Carling. 2020. Drawn to Natural History: Enhancing Field Courses with Drawing and Field Journal Instruction. Natural Sciences Education in press.
Drawing remains a valuable tool for natural science courses and research, but few instructors or students are confident in drawing. Faculty affiliated with the UW Biodiversity Institute found that training by an artist helps instructors overcome concerns about integrating art, and that drawing training enhances students' capacity to use drawing as a learning tool. In a paper in the journal Natural Sciences Education, these faculty describe the impacts of field sketching instruction on the teaching practices of faculty and the experiences of students in two sections of a freshman-level course on natural history. For instructors interested in incorporating drawing into their natural science courses, the authors also provide advice rooted in the literature and best practices of art-science integration. Examples of student work, assignment and assessment suggestions are also included. The project's results suggest that on-going, artist-facilitated training for faculty and students can enhance the experience of using drawing in natural history courses and reconnect natural scientists at all career levels to drawing as a valuable, professional tool. For more information about this project, and for copies of the full research paper, contact the lead author: Bethann Garramon Merkle (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Fig. 4c. Series of sketches: student's notes indicate initially seeing fungus on the leaves and chronicle the fungus spreading to the stem of the plant over several weeks. Image: From the publication, Copyright, Natural Sciences Education. Image reproduced with the permission of a student whose name is withheld to preserve confidentiality.