Learning with the Lowe

Learning with the Lowe

By SEHD News

Learning with the Lowe

By SEHD News

Thanks to the generous support of a CREATE Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Dr. Deroo built upon his ongoing partnership with the Lowe Art Museum and Jodi Sypher, Curator of Education, to enact Learning with the Lowe, a student-generated project that provided a unique opportunity to share artwork from the Lowe Art Museum with local schools across the Miami-Dade community and beyond. Moreover, results from this community-university project are currently under review at educational research journals.

During the Spring 2020 academic semester, students in Dr. Deroo’s TAL 404- Content Area Literacy for Secondary Education course designed lesson plans, based on art objects from the Lowe. Students in TAL 404 visited the Lowe art museum twice in person. They engaged with works of art through object-based discussions led by Jodi Sypher and were briefed by the museum’s collection staff regarding how works of art are cared for and curated. Students also spent time researching their works of art at the Richter Library. When the pandemic shifted instruction online, students began to interact virtually with the museum.

Artwork selected for this project represent a variety of the Lowe’s collection across time and form including paintings, photography, textiles, sculpture, and glass. Specifically, as UM students interacted with the art objects and researched the historical and cultural background of these pieces, they became able to pass on such understandings to other students so that they too can be studied, understood, and appreciated in spaces beyond their original setting at the Lowe Art Museum.

The result of this project are lesson plans for academic content areas from social studies to science, theatre, mathematics, and English. These lesson plans will soon be posted to the museum’s website along with a video where UM students share testimonials about the design process and their learning across the project. Through this curricula development project, UM students gained many important professional skills. They gained expertise on course content connecting literacy to art, they learned how to lead discussions using works of art, and they helped to create resources for the Lowe Art Museum to share with the local community. In addition to advancing Dr. Deroo’s research agenda, the project also highlights the benefits of community-university partnerships in support of students’ civic-engagement.