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LIGO, Mid-Columbia Ballet, and Kiona-Benton 4th Grade Collaboration Continues

Through a combination of science, ballet and art, Kiona-Benton fourth graders are learning a lot about waves. In a partnership that has spanned several years, LIGO Hanford Observatory and Mid-Columbia Ballet are helping put a new spin on science and how students see the world.

“I love being a part of this collaboration,” said Ki-Be teacher Erika Repko. “It is absolutely amazing to see what our students’ culminating projects look like.” 

Over the years, Ki-Be teacher Maria Weakley has acted as a liaison to ensure our fourth-grade classes continue this tradition of combining art and science.

The way it works is first, representatives from the LIGO Hanford Observatory visit our fourth graders and teach them about waves and how the wave properties of light are used to detect gravity waves.  Then, a Mid-Columbia ballet teacher visits and demonstrates how students can mimic waves through dance. And finally, representatives from both groups give a lesson to students on how science and art overlap.

The students are then led through a process of creating interpretive art using supplies donated by LIGO and their teachers. They are taught how to write artist statements, prompted to think about their art in relation to the science they learned, and then they are left to create.  

The artwork is then proudly displayed in an art exhibition that is open to the public. This year’s collaboration yielded colorful two and three-dimensional artwork depicting the earth, the sky and aspects of the universe.

artwork by students artwork by students