Chess as Art, an Interdisciplinary Lesson for 4 Semester Art Students.

Rational for project

The rational for this project is the need to produce lessons that are year long and enriching to the student as they will show him the need to study concepts and ideas across the disciplines, as too often a subject comes up in one class that has connections to other classes and only the smart students will see the connections. It has been my experience that even these hand full of students won't pursue the links for a number of reason, yet it is this process of expanding or linking that breeds success in college and later business experiences. It was hoped that this lesson would let the art students develop a set of chess pieces, along with the history and playing the game itself. The benefits are great for the students that play chess; they problem solve each time they move, they make plans, both short and long term, and they learn how to modify plans and reach the goals they set for themselves.

Implementing the Lesson

The students are introduced to chess during the first year of art and told that a major part of their grade will rest on the chess board and pieces the build, as well as all the research they will need to do to finish their work. The students will be asked to use History, Woodworking, English, Math, Science, Computer Science, and Art. By using a team approach we hope to make the students aware that the subjects in school are interrelated and its the interrelations that are the fun part of learning. The first semester art student will learn about chess by both playing in class against computer and other humans, once the moves are learned, the student will then play chess on the internet. Internet chess can be by e-mail or real time. The real time internet chess is the most rewarding for the student, while e-mail chess will encourage the student to look up moves and positions. In the Art classes he will be trying design the pieces his wishes to build. This and the building the board will use math and science. During the second semester he will futher his efforts to design a chess set, while looking a examples of chess sets. It is hoped by the second semesters end there will be several good players. The third and fourth semesters will see the student carve his set and present a profile of work he used to make the set.<\h5>

Conclusion

It is hoped that the student will be able to better understand the relationships among the various subjects in school. It is further hoped that he will have built a educational routine that will lead to success in college. We feel that the student will have learned enough methodology to achieve his goal of a college education. By requiring an alternate assessment portfolio, it is hoped that many more students will be successful in Art, it is also hoped that this success will be carried over into the other subjects that participate in this project. If you and your colleagues decide to use this lesson, please e-mail me at: jwoodbur@cs.rice.edu.