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Press Release 08-060

Picture This: Explaining Science Through Drawings

Undergrads master scientific concepts by explaining them to high schoolers through drawings

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Pencil drawings of science concepts

The act of creating pencil drawings calls into play a different kind of thought process that forces students to break down larger concepts into their constitutive pieces. This helps clarify the underlying science--from chemical bonding, to the quantum behavior of a particle in a box, to Brownian motion (the movement of particles suspended in a liquid or gas and the impact of raising the temperature of the liquid). In the same assignment, students are asked to evaluate their own drawings which helps them identify and appreciate critical components.

Credit: Kara Culligan and Eunji Chung, Harvard University; Lina Garcia, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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Photo of college chemistry and design students collaborating on scientific concepts.

As part of this project, Boston-area undergraduates in chemistry collaborate with design students at New York's School of Visual Arts (SVA). The idea is to engage design students in conversation with science students so that each can learn from the other.

Credit: Rebecca Rosenberg, project manager, Picturing to Learn


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Use your mouse to right-click (Mac users may need to Ctrl-click) the link above and choose the option that will save the file or target to your computer.