Environmental Charter teacher's blend of art, science earn recognition
Shannon Merenstein did not have a background in science when she interviewed for a job at the Environmental Charter School at Frick Park the summer before it opened in 2008.
But the graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn knew she wanted to find a way to use her training as an artist to help children understand science.
“I was really excited and motivated to be an art teacher,” said Merenstein, 26, of Lawrenceville. “But it's always been really important to me that art and science be connected, so students can learn scientific concepts by making art.”
Merenstein's ability to meld the disciplines won recognition by the Carnegie Science Center, which selected her to receive a Carnegie Science Award in the Elementary Educator category.
“The ... awards spotlight some of the most innovative minds today,” said Ron Baillie, the center's co-director. “These individuals are making a global impact, starting with our own region. We know they are already inspiring a new generation of leaders.”
Merenstein began mixing art and science in the classroom by including rudimentary science lessons about land forms while teaching students how to draw the foreground, middleground and background of a picture, she said.
The process of merging art with science “really took off” when she and science teacher Chelsea Young obtained a grant last year to create a space called the Thinking Lab, where they co-teach classes.
“We took our science curriculum and our art curriculum and meshed them together so they are taught simultaneously,” Merenstein said. “We try to make it seamless, so the students coming into the lab don't know whether they are getting science class or an art class.”
Tawana Cook, principal of the school in Point Breeze, said she was “not at all surprised” to learn that the Science Center will honor Merenstein.
“Because she is such an inspired person, she serves as an inspiration to others,” Cook said.
Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Mt. Lebanon native, Iraq war hero’s action goes unrewarded
- Falling bricks close 2 Squirrel Hill businesses
- Man shot in Hill District
- Owner of Penn Hills tombstone business pleads guilty to swindling the bereaved out of $90K
- Carnegie Mellon University’s Speck device monitors indoor pollution
- ‘Swing Night’ has feel of Prohibition-era dance hall
- Brookline 12-year-old crashes mother’s car
- Shortfalls sabotage promise of union retirees’ pensions
- Newsmaker: Sharna Olfman
- O’Hara ALS awareness advocate dies at 49
- 17 Pennsylvania veterans inducted into Hall of Valor