The Paper Project is dedicated to exploring one of the earliest technologies and art forms, papermaking. Using a scanning-laser confocal microscope, new and exciting images have been revealed. This site chronicles the process, the findings, and many of the beautiful images of this exploration. In addition, educational materials can be found under the Technology section of the web site. The content blends the world of art and science.
The major purpose of the Paper Project is to chronicle handmade and paper images produced by a scanning-laser confocal microscope.
The Arizona Department of Education aligned state academic and teaching standards in Art, Technology, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science with the Paper Project. The 2-D and 3-D images along with accompanying web content present linkages between many disciplines such as: physics, chemistry, biology, history, visual arts, and dance.
Target Student Population:
Teachers, K-post-secondary, can integrate the Paper Project into their various contents; Art, Technology, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. Art and science students in college would find this site especially pertient to their interests.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
While not required, some background in the science of microscopes and terminology specific to art are helpful.
Type of Material:
The site offers exhibits of final art images, exhibits, articles by individual artists in the process of paper making, explanations of the scientific use of a laser confocal microscope in creating the art images. Step by step teaching lessons, K-12, are available; how to make 3-D glasses, traditional papermaking, and the history of paper and the microscope.
The 2-D and 3-D images are powerful visuals for pre K through university learners. The site is a a good example for pre-services teachers on how to develop and teach an integrated curiculum. The vignettes help provide answers about the science,
art, and technology behind the imagery. Curriculum choice and design can occur in many ways based on instructor planning. A second objective of the Paper Project is its community outreach through a tactile, in-person touring art exhibit, a 3-D immersive installation, and a 3-D dance performance.
Free software that can be downloaded and used to make your own paper, or analyze some of the data images from the Paper Project is available at the site.
Evaluation and Observation
The Paper Project images and content are anchored in real world art, science and technology. Instructors should use them as tools to spark curiosity and as an opportunity to introduce topics in a non-traditional manner. Learners might journey into paper, explore chemical bonding, investigate the structure of paper by viewing the images, and pursue the aesthetics of form and shape. The process of making paper is demonstrated in one of the Paper Project web vignettes and there is a PDF cookbook on papermaking. Have you ever wondered how paper is held together? Where is the glue? Virtually all the resources necessary to initiate these types of explorations are contained on the website, including instructions and a template for making 3-D glasses. For advanced students free software can be downloaded and used to build images from some of the actual Paper Project datasets. The integration of disciplines Art, Technology, Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. The alignment of Arizona academic and teaching standards with the Paper Project site makes it easier for K-12 teachers to immediate use and reference the site. The range of teaching materials is amazing; the site offers activities that can engage learners from elementary to graduate level.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The broad spectrum of disciplines that are encompassed which can be addressed independent of one another or in an integrated teaching setting. The authors suggest that it is important to first immerse the learners in the imagery before engaging them in the science and art content. This allows learners the chance to explore and raise personal questions,
before more formal content is presented. Instructors should consider the questions they and their students want to pursue, how the website can best help them do this, and then develop an appropriate sequence for investigating the Paper Project website. The website does provide state and national teaching standards addressed by the Project content. The authors plan to expand on this section to help facilitate the use of website materials by teachers.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site has a clean, systematic, intuitive organization that is easy to navigate and explore. Key areas within the site include: overview, technology, web gallery and exhibits. Each of these four areas have sublinks that are clear, informative, and model cross-curricular connections.