The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 12, 2012

Beckley Elementary receives grant to combine science, art

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

— Elizabeth Raney’s third-grade class at Beckley Elementary has been awarded nearly $5,000 from the LilySarahGrace Fund to combine science and the art of Vincent Van Gogh.

Raney explained that her students will be making refractor telescopes and using math to plot the growth of flowers while studying and recreating Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and his butterfly and moth paintings.

She said her class will also use a butterfly kit to hatch live butterflies before making their own large mural of the butterfly life cycle to display in their room.

“We all have an inner artist, and I want to help my students find that artist and learn important scientific concepts at the same time. Eighty-eight percent of my students have never taken an arts-related class outside of school,” Raney said. “Research shows a positive impact on 9- and 10-year-old students who receive art education. Art education is shown to help students with literary concepts, as well as levels the playing field in low socio-economic school systems.”

The LilySarahGrace Fund was funded by Matthew Badger, father of Lily, Sarah and Grace Badger, who died in a house fire early Christmas morning in 2011 in Connecticut.

The foundation and fund were formed to support the arts in underfunded schools across America. Since its inception, the fund has made an impact on more than 70,000 students in classrooms nationwide.

The national LilySarahGrace Bus Tour stopped Thursday and Friday at Beckley Elementary to film the students learning about art and science in Raney’s class.

The $5,000 award was used for the class to purchase hands-on science and art supplies.

— E-mail: splummer@register-herald.com