Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Shocking Story: GASLAND

As part of the Juniors' water unit, we viewed GASLAND:

Description from YouTube:
"It is happening all across America and now in Europe and Africa as well - rural landowners wake up one day to find a lucrative offer from a multinational energy conglomerate wanting to lease their property. The Reason? In America, the company hopes to tap into a huge natural gas reservoir dubbed the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. Halliburton developed a way to get the gas out of the ground—a hydraulic drilling process called fracking—and suddenly America finds itself on the precipice of becoming an energy superpower."

But what comes out of the ground with that natural gas? How does it affect our air and drinking water? People and animals become sick!

The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Seniors Visit the Ann Nathan Gallery downtown Chicago

On Friday we viewed the glorious painting of George Klauba, a self-taught painter who boldly painted the adventures of sailors tracking down Moby Dick.  We asked many questions of Klauba who explained how he connected to comics of Moby Dick in the 1940s and was as sailor in the navy as a young man.  He became a  commercial artist and worked in that field prior to becoming an innovative painter. He developed his style on his own during weekends and evenings.  When he lost his job in 1991 he became a full time painter. Klaube also explained his use of bird faces on people:  it allows the viewer to imagine their own ideas about the person in the painting.  As visual references, Klauba primarily used 19th C. engravings of sailors and the Classic Comic books of Moby Dick.  Unfortunately for us, he sold his painting of Ishmael.

View the slideshow from our trip:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rockwell Kent

In 1926 artist Rockwell Kent was commissioned to do Moby Dick illustrations. He completed 280 woodcuts for Melville's work.

He did extensive research in New Bedford and spent time on a whaling ship, like Melville before he jumped into the work.

From wikipedia:
"Published in 1930 by the Lakeside Press of Chicago, the three-volume limited edition [of Moby Dick] filled with Kent's haunting black-and-white pen/brush and ink drawings sold out immediately; Random House produced a trade edition which was also immensely popular. A previously obscure book, Moby Dick had been rediscovered by critics in the early 1920s. The success of the Rockwell Kent illustrated edition was a factor in its becoming recognized as the classic it is today."

 The illustrations are quite dense and must be viewed several times to take in all the information.  Understand the pictures through the opposition of black and white. Movement and texture add meaning.  Kent has familiarity with the whale museum and going on a whaling ship.

Contrast Kent's illustrations with those of George Klauba we'll see tomorrow at the Ann Nathan Gallery.
painting of Queequeg:

Notice the contrast of styles from 1930 to the 21st Century.  We are very excited to meet and speak with the artist George Klauba.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Papercuts for Dave Eggers' Zeitoun

Our IGSS art teacher Darrin Jeziorksi created a really great mural of the students' art work for Zeitoun. I hope the pictures give you a good sense of how it enhances our classroom.

Canoe Trip on the Chicago River

Our junior class of IGSS rowed for 3+ hours on the Chicago River with social studies teacher Colby Vargas and science teacher David Rafferty-Flatter. The purpose was to collect/test water samples at four points along the river while observing wildlife and industry along the way. Blessed with beautiful weather, we were able to view ducks, geese, and even a turtle sunning along the shores.

Chicago Water Quality Tests
Each test will be done with the 4 samples collected on Monday.

  • Ammonia Nitrate - nitrates in conjunction with phosphates stimulate the growth of algae
  • pH - solutions in pH range of 4-9 are not considered hazardous
  • Chlorine -disinfecting agent
  • Chromium - enters a water supply through discharges of industrial wastes - potential carcinogen
  • Copper - essential element to the human body; large does are harmful, causing liver damage
  • Cyanide - extremely toxic - found in water containing waste from metal finishing
  • Iron - high levels indicate water contaminated by acid mine wastes
  • Phosphorous - stimulates the growth of algae
  • Silica - some scientists prefer not to see this in water
  • Sulfide - rotten egg ordor in high concentrations

Students noticed that water closer to the city center smelled better and has less toxic chemicals in it.

New Trier Organic Garden