PV students get creative

GOWRIE – Students at Prairie Valley High School are creating art using a plasma cutter, learning art and industrial skills.

“One of the goals for our district this year is to increase relevancy and education that’s meaningful to students. And engaging instruction,” Lois Irwin, Prairie Valley Community School District superintendent, said.

Bryan Bachel, art instructor, and Mike Swieter, industrial technology instructor, worked together to challenge their students with a new, interdisciplinary project.

“They came up with a real cool project,” Lois Irwin said.

Bachel said the project, the first time it has been done in the school, was fun for him as an instructor.

“It all started with a teacher in-service we had at the beginning of the year, where we had cooperative lessons between teachers,” he said. “Mr. Swieter and I got together, and we always wanted to work together on a project, and this just happened to be the perfect opportunity.”

Four art students in Bachel’s sculpture class used the plasma cutter in Swieter’s industrial technology classroom to create projects.

“We started with metal sheets,” Bachel said. “The goal was to create a 2D drawing that would eventually be made into a three-dimensional sculpture.”

Students drew their projects onto metal, and cut the design out of metal. They then used a welder to assemble their projects, Bachel said.

Art student Kristen Reeves said the project was as engaging as it was inspiring.

“It’s very interesting combining those two things,” Reeves said. “I learned a lot of stuff from that. I wouldn’t be able to do it without some of those people in there. The plasma cutter was pretty scary, I think. It was a lot of fun. I would do it again.”

Bachel said the projects turned out well.

“At first, the kids were hesitant about it, something different in the art room,” he said. “But eventually they caught on and went from there with it. They came up with some pretty good stuff.”

Most encouraging for Bachel was seeing his students enthusiasm.

“We usually have some pretty good kids in the art room. It’s always good to see them enthused about it,” he said. “It’s something different, something to get them out of the painting and drawing, to get their creative juices going.”

He added, “It’s good art.”

The metal projects are on display in Prairie Valley High School.