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Students learn art, math at museum

Nov. 29, 2012 @ 11:05 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Third-graders from Salt Rock Elementary visited the Huntington Museum of Art on Thursday as part of the Add It Up program, which integrates art and math.

Students were led by docents through the Touma Gallery, the glass collection and the conservatory, learning about the pieces of art and plants and then incorporating a math lesson. In the conservatory, students learned how to read Celsius and Fahrenheit on a mercury thermometer and then measured the length and width of the large leaves on a banana tree.

"It's a great learning tool, doing realistic activities," said Cindy Dearborn, the Museum and Schools coordinator. "There's tremendous value (to the program). It exposes them to the arts and reinforces the West Virginia Content Standards and Objectives."

The museum has a partnership with Cabell County Schools, so every third-grade classroom will visit for the Add It Up program, while the fourth-grade classes take part in the Look, Listen, Move tour. Dearborn said that program takes place in the first three months of the school year and incorporates art, dance and music.

In the spring, a new first-grade program called Kid Lit will begin. It aims to integrate reading, art and language arts, Dearborn said.

Salt Rock teacher Kim McCormill said the museum's education programs do a wonderful job in exposing children to culture and doing so in a hands-on way.

"There's a lot that you can bring out of here that goes straight to the Common Core Curriculum," McCormill said, referring to the new national standards being adopted by most states.

She said there also is great value in simply exposing the children to artwork, some of which comes from local and international artists and some of which dates back thousands of years.

"I want them to be able to appreciate the work that someone has put it," she said. "When we get back, we'll do a journal entry about the experience here and also brainstorm about different pieces of art that they might want to try and make."

Docent Donna Cubbedge, a retired teacher from Boyd County, said she enjoys volunteering because of how many students are able to have the museum experience -- more than 7,800 last year, according to Dearborn.

Dearborn said the program and regular school-aged tours are available to schools outside of Cabell County, noting that West Hamlin Elementary students were visiting Thursday afternoon. She also said schools from Wayne and Mason counties also utilize the educational resources offered by the museum.

For more information, contact Dearborn at 304-529-2701 or by email at cdearborn@hmoa.org. The Huntington Museum of Art is located at 2033 McCoy Road, Huntington.