Teacher Showcase: Drawing Roman Architecture with Kelley Schaaf
Throughout Sylvania Schools, seventh graders take a field trip through time each year to visit the temples, city squares, and homes of ancient Rome. They walk those streets, touch the columns, and admire the altars. Of course, since neither H.G. Wells nor Marty McFly are employed by our district (yet), each seventh grade social studies teacher takes on the task of that trip through time. Their creative ingenuity weaves together art, archeology, video, literature, and historical text to immerse students in a culture thousands of years past. Now, Kelley Schaaf has added to that mix a basic exploration of architecture through technology.
Kelley teaches her students about the infrastructure of a Roman community, touching on aqueducts, amphitheatres, basilicas, and more. Once introduced to these architectural models, Kelley asks her students to research them, find images and discussion, and recreate them as architectural models in Google Drawing. The task is simple enough: Divide the workspace into nine sections to represent the grid layout of the Roman community. In each grid section, depict one of the architectural forms listed: basilica, amphitheatre, home, forum, aqueduct, and stadium. Despite the simplicity here, the results are anything but.
Given this task, students use the shape creation in Drawing to create pieces of each structure that are then assembled, like legos, into the finished whole. The sophistication comes when students zoom in on a square to produce tiny components in detail. When zoomed out, the fine-detailed work is evident, sometimes including shading to give a sense of depth. These are seventh graders working with the most basic of art tools, but the results are often tremendous, as in the image below, composed of nothing more than simple shapes.
And how about these other examples?
Through their attention to detail in Google Drawing, Kelley’s students have immersed themselves in the physical structure of ancient Rome, and as they shape each segment of each structure, they live a little bit in that time and place.