ScienceArt@Umbria aims at creating training paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for primary and secondary school students during summer periods. Summer camps aim at promoting higher confidence towards scientific knowledge among girls and stimulating the learning of STEM subjects, through new ways of teaching during the training paths.
ScienceArt@Umbria is co-funded by the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers - Department of Equal Opportunities (Initiative: In estate si imparano le STEM).
”In estate si imparano le STEM” aims at eradicating stereotypes that hinder women‘s participation in science.
The initiative aims at creating training paths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects for primary and secondary school students during summer periods. Summer camps aim at promoting higher confidence towards scientific knowledge among girls and stimulating the learning of STEM subjects, through new ways of teaching during the training paths.
The School IC Panicale Paciano Piegaro participated in the initiative with the project ScienceArt@Umbria, which has been approved and funded by the Italian Ministry of Equal Opportunities.
ScienceArt@Umbria is based on the implementation of an interdisciplinary summer camp addressed to the students (but not only) of the IC Panicale Paciano Piegaro. The ScienceArt@Umbria Summer Camp addresses learners aged 11 to 13 and is designed to overcome the stereotypes that negatively affect women in science.
The so-called STEM subjects are indeed traditionally male dominated. Considering that females remain underrepresented in those subjects, ScienceArt@Umbria aims at improving such gender discrepancy, by counteracting the stereotype of the students‘ (with a special focus on females) poor attitude towards STEM disciplines.
The ScienceArt@Umbria campus gives participants the opportunity to challenge the experimental method through workshops for monitoring the environmental conditions of some local artworks (the Perugino’s fresco of the “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, the church of “Madonna della Barra” and the “Museum of Sacred Furnishings”).
The participants had the chance to attend 4 interdisciplinary workshops:
- MATHLAB: Mathematics and Arts:
The workshop explored the interactions between mathematics and art, with a special focus on some mathematical aspects in artworks of the Renaissance, such as the perspective of ratio and proportion.
- ENGLISH LAB:
With the support of a native speaker, the students analysed the fresco “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian” in detail, identifying its features and elements by transcribing the data that emerged in a table (landscape, colours, geometrical shapes, architecture etc). Through assigned working groups, the participants submitted written arguments in English.
- ART LAB:
The workshop analysed the technique behind the mural painting called “fresco” and its conservation.
- CODING AND AUGMENTED REALITY LAB:
The students used the Scratch programming language to write a code for a very simple animation to better explain some details of the fresco.
The activities carried out during the workshops were crucial for the conduct of the research of ScienceArt@Umbria on the preservation of cultural heritage.
Through the four interdisciplinary workshops, the participants had the chance to analyse some of the key issues linked to the preservation of cultural heritage, damage to paintings and artworks, microclimates, etc.
Then, with the support of the Project Partner CIRIAF (Interuniversity Research Centre on Pollution and Environment - Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering - University of Perugia), the participants were involved in a set of practical activities needed for monitoring the conditions of the fresco “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”.
CIRIAF, a partner of the H2020 project HERACLES (http://www.heracles-project.eu/), aimed at designing, validating and promoting responsive systems/solutions for effective resilience of cultural heritage against climate change effects. Considering, as a mandatory premise, a holistic, multidisciplinary approach through the involvement of different types of expertise, this supported ScienceArt@Umbria in coordinating the monitoring activities of the fresco “The martyrdom of Saint Sebastian” and the church where it is located. Thanks to CIRIAF, the learners had the chance to use the wearable tools designed by the project partners of the HERACLES project: a helmet that integrates a visible light camera and an infrared camera probing for air temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration and VOC, global and bright radiation, wind direction and speed.
The tool used is a prototype made in collaboration with various engineers (electronics, computer technician) and physicists who have carried out portable probes and applications for the smartphone that controls the instrumentation and stores the collected data. The raw data is then collected in a spreadsheet and processed by experts.
Click here to see the multimedia presentation made by the students about the summer camp’s activities.
The project, carried out by the School IC Panicale Paciano Piegaro in collaboration with its partners, is closely linked to the local territory and offers a service to the local community. It is concerned with the study and monitoring of an artwork symbolising the historical-cultural identity of the community: Perugino’s fresco “The Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian”, located in the church of the same name. In particular, the local actors involved in the Project are the Cultural Office “San Sebastiano“, the Training Agency EGInA and CIRIAF, which, with its qualified staff and with the appropriate tools, supported the project in its experimental fieldwork and data processing.
The project was carried out over the summer of 2017 in three different parts:
- Phase I:
Information collected about the author and the geographical, historical and cultural context.
In this first stage, the Cultural Office “San Sebastiano” supported the learners in investigating the main features of the Church of San Sebastiano. The students analysed the different aspects of the artwork and the historical and cultural context, i.e. the specificities of Renaissance art in Italy.
Then, they examined some crucial aspects of the research in English. In addition, the aspect of mathematics in Renaissance art was studied: first with a compass and team; then by using the Geogebra software, the students built the golden segment and the golden rectangle, applying them to the image of the fresco to see how these harmonic proportions were used in the work.
Working in pairs and in small groups, the learners tried to calculate the golden ratio in the human body using their own measurements. In the fresco workshop, however, the interns were working on the production of their own fresco, realising how complicated this technique was.
- Phase II:
Introduction to Cultural Heritage Monitoring and Fieldwork with CIRIAF Instrumentation and Experts.
Following the indications of CIRIAF researchers, the students carried out some online research, using keywords such as “climate and art”, “cultural heritage conservation”, “CIRIAF”, “artwork monitoring” and “microclimate and climate change”. In this way, they became aware how scientific and technological progress and the new instruments made by researchers can be useful for the preservation of our great artistic heritage and for the improvement of people's living conditions.
With the CIRIAF experts and their wearable instruments, the students participated in a monitoring activity, both outside and inside the church that houses the fresco. In the helmet worn by one of the CIRIAF researchers, they had: a visible light camera, an infrared camera, and probes for: air temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration and VOC, global and bright radiation, wind direction and speed.
- Phase III:
Data processing and information collection and production of multimedia and paper media.
With the help of experts, the collected data was processed in graphs and compared with reference values. On the basis of the data recorded, it was concluded that the temperature and humidity conditions inside the San Sebastiano church were suitable for the preservation of the Perugino fresco. However, other surveys would be needed during different periods of the year and over a wider interval, in order to provide a more reliable result.
The summer camp of ScienceArt@Umbria increases the curiosity of female and male students towards scientific and technological disciplines. Students get on-site experience, which is the starting point that gives them the desire to expand their knowledge through research and make them understand that true knowledge is based on solid foundations that cannot be redecued to newsflashes.
In addition, through the widespread use of multimedia applications and Web-based services, ScienceArt@Umbria aims at encouraging the conscious and rational use of ICT.
The summer camp allowed the learners to enhance the eight key competences of citizenship (Learning to Learn, Design, Communicate, Collaborate and Participate, Act Actively and Responsibly, Solve Problems, Identify Links and Relationships, Acquire and Interpret Information) needed to face the challenges of contemporary society.
In order to evaluate the achievement of those results, on the last day of activities the students were given a cognitive autobiography questionnaire. This questionnaire contained the elements regarded as exemplifying the success of the project.
The analysis of the questionnaires that the learners filled in shows that the difficulty level was appropriate. A majority of the students selected “Use of new programs/software” as one of the things they liked the most.
Besides digital tools, the students particularly appreciated the collaborative methodology of the summer camp. In fact, their feedback about the cooperative learning is very positive: they liked working with their peers and they confirmed they find it easier to collaborate.