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GEOLOGY + ANSEL ADAMS + CAMERA = AN AMAZING SUMMER ASSIGNMENT

This past semester, my kids did an in-depth study on rocks and geological formations. During our study, we began noticing all of the amazing outcroppings, (extremely large rocks that reveal themselves to us…I just learned that term!), as we drove around Connecticut.

A quick stop at the library provided us a few resources about our local geography and America’s famous artist, Ansel Adams. We came home armed with the tools we needed to become our own Ansel Adams. We spent an afternoon discussing the style Adams used—how he played with lights, shadows, shapes, and texture in his photography. We also talked about how we could try to imitate the same. We spoke about how his art have a profound impact on how Americans saw their own country and the impact that knowledge had on protecting beautiful parts of our nation.

A true Ansel would willingly trek through the bad weather to get the good picture of snowflake piled, icicle-covered rocks, but my mini Ansels aren’t as willing due to rough winters in New England. Now that it is summer, we are able to notice our local outcroppings again, this time they aren’t covered in snow and ice, just bugs and green growth.

We are using the old digital cameras that relatives have passed down to my kids to snap roadside pictures of outcroppings, waterfalls, and any rock formation we see. We photocopied the maps in the resources about our local geography so we know where to look. (Your local library might have cameras that can be checked out, or perhaps you can borrow one from a friend, use a smartphone, or even go old school and use a real film camera!)

Our plan is to trim down our collection of pieces that reflect Adams style the best and portray our most glorious natural structures around. We want to identify the types of rock, observe any interesting features about them, and maybe even find similar portraits of Adams that ours resemble. (Perhaps we can even display our work in the public library display case.)

What do you think? Are there ways we can integrate subjects that at first seem very different? Science and art can blend into each other when we watch for specific places they intersect, such as with Ansel Adams and identifying geological features.

In what ways can you capitalize on the learning potential for topics you are already discussing? What summer activities can you use to connect the dots back to assignments you completed during the school year?

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Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.

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