School district initiative to teach students principles of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Paradise Valley Unified School District Community Education Department have developed a pilot program focusing on the principles of the legendary architect. (Submitted photo)

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Paradise Valley Unified School District Community Education Department are partnering on a six-week after-school program in 25 schools using the teachings and principles of the architect’s work.

The pilot program will begin in the fall for students in second through fifth grades with one lesson plan per week focusing on a different facet of architecture, including the use of glass, color and shapes, according to a release.

Each lesson plan is accompanied by a video featuring a member of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation team introducing a basic principle of architecture and applying it to the design and creation of Mr. Wright’s winter home in Scottsdale, Taliesin West.

The pilot program will begin in the fall for students in second through fifth grades. (Submitted photo)

The topics include concepts such as why various shapes are used in the design process, how glass allowed Mr. Wright to connect the indoors with the outdoors and the ways in which he used art in his designs by incorporating stained glass and mirroring the colors of the surrounding landscape to what he was creating.

The programming, designed to align with the current S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) curriculum being taught in the classroom, “offers less structure to allow more creative freedom for the students,” the release stated.

Throughout the course of the six weeks, students will work on a project that simulates stained glass “with the idea that it will encourage them to apply each of the concepts they learned during the six weeks into a real-world practice,” according to the release.

“The driving force behind this partnership is to find ways to engage students in the creative areas of art and architecture by using the innovative concepts invented by Frank Lloyd Wright and applying them to the real world,” stated DeDee Ludwig-Palit, vice president of Public Engagement at the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

“Wright was always anticipating future challenges that didn’t exist yet and what made him so great was that he was always one step ahead. We want to help inspire the next generation of critical thinkers who will be able to find creative solutions to problems that don’t even exist today. That means we need to challenge them to think outside of the box and develop an acute awareness of what the future might bring,” she stated.

Michael Linn, director of community education at PVUSD, said “students need to experience learning opportunities that are unique, meaningful and relevant. Through partnerships, we are able to connect teachers with field experts who can share content that creates authentic and engaging learning.”

Once the pilot program has ended, both organizations will assess the strengths and weaknesses to refine it.

Participating teachers will visit Taliesin West in September “to learn about the curriculum and receive training on all things Frank Lloyd Wright,” the release stated.

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