Posted in biology, chemistry, communication and networking, education, literature, medical imaging, physics

Picturing to Learn

What do you get when you throw undergraduate biology and design students into a science class and ask them to explain a concept or theory on a level high school students could understand? Art! And learning!

The Picturing to Learn project is a collaboration of educators and students at Harvard, MIT, Duke,  Roxbury Community College, and the School of Visual Arts, New York. Part of the Envisioning Science Program at Harvard’s Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC), the project “is creating a database of more than 4,000 drawings from various undergraduate science courses.”

Scientific photographer Felice Frankel was working with scientists to help them visually express their work. The researchers found that drawing pictures of their work was not only useful to outsiders, it actually helped them understand their own work better. Frankel made the connection that this method would be good for students. And the Picturing to Learn Project was born.

Some of the student’s drawings are very technical, while some are very comical. The group is interested in collaborating with other schools, if you’re interested.



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.