Cut flowers wilt before your eyes.
Slender plants bend in the wind.
Leaves sag when a branch is cut off a plant or when a plant is removed from soil.
There is no way to avoid these scenarios. Change is inevitable.
How to get comfortable with all this change?
How can you teach students they can adapt to change?
Consider this five-minute exercise created by art educator, Sarah Grow.
Grow describes this simple activity in The Not-So-Still Life, a one-page article published in SchoolArts magazine.
Grow developed her activity after reading Ten Lessons the Arts Teach by Elliot Eisner and modeled it after Lesson #4 which states:
Learning in the arts requires the ability and willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds.
To teach this lesson in her classroom, Grow creates a still life using a bowl, apples, an artichoke, a potato and a container of mints. She then informs her students they have five minutes to draw the arrangement she has set before them.
When students are one-minute into their drawing, Grow takes a bite out of an apple and moves the potato. At Minute 2, she takes another bite out of an apple and switches the position of the mints and the artichoke. At Minute 3 and Minute 4, she changes things even more. At Minute 5, her student’s drawings are complete.
While Grow’s students might think she is a bit out of her mind at Minute 1, they catch on to what she is doing, surrender to the unanticipated changes and deal with the problems they encounter, each in their own unique way.
Grow created this activity for middle school students. It is available online for free.
Grow, Sarah. 2010. The not-so-still life. SchoolArts. November. Retrieved from http://www.davisart.com/Promotions/SchoolArts/PDF/11_10-middle-school-studio-art-lesson-not-so-still-life.pdf