What difference does art make in science? A comparative study of meaning-making at elementary school

Jakobson, B & Wickman, P.


Interchange, 46(4), 323-343 (2015).


Here we examine the role art activities play in aesthetic experience and learning of science. We compare recordings of two sequential occurrences in an elementary school class. The purpose of the first sequence was scientific and involved the children in observing leaves with magnifiers. The second sequence had an artistic purpose, where the children made pictures of leaves by rubbing them with crayons. The material was analyzed by means of practical epistemology analysis, Dewey’s philosophy of aesthetics and socio-cultural approaches using the concept of mediation. The results show that what was mediated in the two sequences differed; the mediating artefacts used thereby having an effect on learning. The children also learned how to take part in the activities aesthetically. What the results mean for the use of artistic activities in science education is discussed.