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News Bites: Art Education Students Continue to Power Mel Chin’s “Operation Paydirt”

Posted December 12, 2014 in News BitesArt Education

ArtPrize is long gone, and with it, Mel Chin’s “Operation Paydirt,” a uniquely interactive art project that was named to the jurors’ short list in the Time-Based category. But while the project may have moved on, KCAD’s impact on it continues thanks to the efforts of the Art Education department.

“Operation Paydirt” was not your typical ArtPrize fare – it’s actually part of an initiative, started by Chin in 2008, that’s been steadily engaging grassroots communities across America in a creative action to generate both awareness of lead contamination and solutions for the national crisis of childhood lead-poisoning. Here in West Michigan, staff and students in the Art Education department helped out by creating original and rigorous lesson plans that were incorporated into Chin’s efforts to engage local K-12 students with the project.

operation paydirt"Operation Paydirt" inside The Fed Galleries

Students Laura Thomason, Missy Powlak, and Nicole Boysen designed the lesson plans based on the 4-Tier Intentional Teaching and Curriculum Design format, which considers art standards, integrated standards, multiple intelligences, and mind style diversification. Now, the lesson’s are currently being reviewed by Chin’s team, and once approved, they will be published on the “Operation Paydirt” website and made available for schools throughout the country to make use of.

“This was a fabulous collaboration that allowed our KCAD students to show Mel Chin’s organization the visionary way to consider 21st century curriculum design,” said Art Education professor Donna St. John. “It was an extraordinary experience for our KCAD students to create curriculum that will be potentially used in classrooms throughout the nation.”

St. John also pitched in, creating an entire unit of K-12 lesson plans – also written in the 4-Tier format – that cover a variety of age appropriate concepts related to “Operation Paydirt“ and sequentially build upon each other. The lesson plans have been approved by Chin’s team and are now available for download here.

For more information on “Operation Paydirt,” click here.

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