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The Starry Night

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Who Has Seen the Wind?
In this lesson students are introduced to and encouraged to explore characteristics of the wind through poetry and van Gogh’s paintings
Nature, Visual Arts, Science, Physical Activity

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Exploring Weather Conditions Through Painting
Students will learn about how weather influences culture, daily life, and mood by examining paintings depicting different types of weather.
Science, Nature

Brass

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Brass Instruments and Pitch
This lesson introduces students to the instruments of the brass family
Musical Instruments, Music, Orchestra, Science

recycle

Grades 3-4 Lesson: Get Dramatic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
In this lesson students will explore the concepts behind the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle slogan through theater
Nature, Theater, Science

Kennedy Center Concert Hall

Video: The Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Conductor Emil de Cou leads an expedition to the Kennedy Center's grand Concert Hall
Art Venues, Music, Orchestra, Science

Wakamaru

Video: Japanese Robots!
At the forefront of hyperculture, Japan's robots are at once amazing works of art and fantastic feats of engineering. Japan has been at the vanguard of global robot development and technology since the 1970s and continues to invent new ways these machines can aid, entertain, and inspire mankind.
Asia, Visual Arts, Popular Culture, Japan, Innovators & Pioneers, Inventions, Science, Puppets

Tadao Ando

Video: Tadao Ando: Four Cubes to Contemplate Our Environment
The world-renowned architect Tadao Ando presents this world-premiere glass installation, which explores sustainability and the environment. It was constructed on-site specifically for the Kennedy Center Festival of Japan in 2008.
Asia, Nature, Science, Visual Arts, Architecture, Japan

Mayawa Denke

Video: Maywa Denki
Founded in 1993 by two brothers, Maywa Denki is a performance art troupe with a unique style. Each piece of their work is called a "product" and a live performance or exhibition is held as a "product demonstration." Although they're known and appreciated as artists, their promotion strategies are full of variety - besides exhibitions and live stage performances, they produce music, videos, writing, toys, stationery, and electronic devices.
Asia, Visual Arts, Inventions, Japan, Popular Culture, Science

Matt Alt

Video Series: Matt Alt: Jumbo Machinders
Matt Alt walks you through his extensive collection and explains the art and history of Japanese jumbo machinder toys.
Japan, Popular Culture, Visual Arts, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Puppets

Tornado, by Cai Guo-Qiang

Video Series: Tornado, by Cai Guo-Qiang
This excerpt from Cai's Tornado: Explosion Project for the Kennedy Center includes both the dancing boats and the tornado itself
China, Science, Visual Arts, Asia, Backstage, Innovators & Pioneers

Blood, Guts, & Gore

Video Series: Blood, Guts, and Gore
These video tutorials offer step-by-step guides for homemade fake blood and other gory stage effects. The series is hosted by stuntman and special effects professional Greg Poljacik.
Backstage, Movies & Movie Stars, Television, Theater, Science, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stunts & Special Effects

Toyota Partner Robot

Video Series: Japan: Arts & Culture
This is your passport to the arts and culture of Japan as experienced through the Kennedy Center's Japan! culture + hyperculture festival (February 2008). This series will help you learn about some of the major art forms in Japan—art, theater, dance, music, manga, anime, robots, and visual art installations.
Architecture, Asia, Music, Visual Arts, World Cultures, Japan, Inventions, Innovators & Pioneers, Science

Hobey Ford's Animalia

Video Series: Hobey Ford: Animalia
Together with his team of adorable "Foamies," Hobey makes animals of all sorts emerge in movement and music to form a full-on puppet ballet. Watch as the habits and habitats of the world's mightiest beasts and tiniest bugs come into furry focus right before your eyes.
Animals, Jobs in the Arts, Nature, Puppets, Science

Sculpture by Richard Serra

Interactive: Sculpture With Richard Serra
Richard Serra's most recognizable works are monumental steel sculptures. Learn more in this microsite tour.
Visual Arts, Jobs in the Arts, Geometry, Science

moon

Audio Series: Art/Space
How do composers hear space? What does space sound like? Is there music in space? Narrated by Roger Launius of the Space History Division of the National Air and Space Museum, this series looks at the way music and outer space connect.
Space, Science, Music, History

audio mixer

Audio: Ben Burtt: The Sounds of Star Wars
Meet Ben Burtt, Sound Designer for films like Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark and WALL-E. Learn how he comes up with sounds that complement the amazing things seen on the silver screen – from laser blasts to whirring, buzzing lightsabers. Find out the story behind some of his signature effects and how he first got interested in sound design.
Movies & Movie Stars, Innovators & Pioneers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Space

Sputnik replica

Audio: Sputnik: Art/Space
The space age began on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik-the first artificial satellite. Around the world, millions of people tuned their radios to hear it beeping or waited outside to watch it pass overhead.
Music, Space, Science, History

voyager record

Audio: Voyager: Art/Space
There's music floating in Outer Space--two disks filled with songs that are floating out beyond the planets that are most distant to Earth. The disks are strapped to the sides of the Voyager probes which were launched to explore the outer edges of our galaxy and whatever lies beyond them.
Music, Space, Science, History, America

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Sky Sights
Look closely at the sky. Do you see any clouds that look like objects? Ask a friend if they see what you see.
Science, Visual Arts, Nature

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Q & A
When someone asks you a question at home today, respond in your very best robot voice. Can people understand your answers?
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Language

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Twinkle Time
Look closely at the night sky. Find stars that outline shapes of objects. Ask a friend they see what you see.
Science, Space, Visual Arts

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Sound Effects
You’re a movie sound effects machine for a new science fiction film. Make your best alien noises. See if anyone can guess what kind of scene you’re working on.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Movies & Movie Stars

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Magic Musings
You’re a wizard. What’s your favorite spell? How does it go? Draw a picture of yourself in your wizard’s outfit.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Visual Arts, Theater

arts challenge

Everyday Arts Challenge: Explorer File
You’ve discovered a new planet. Congratulations! What will you name it? What’s it like there? Draw a picture of it.
Science, Innovators & Pioneers, Space

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Susanne K. Langer
"Art is the objectification of feeling, and the subjectification of nature."
America, Literature, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Karl Kraus
"Science is spectral analysis. Art is light synthesis."
Europe, Literature, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Stuart Wilde
"All mankind's inner feelings eventually manifest themselves as an outer reality."
Literature, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Pythagoras
"There is geometry in the humming of the strings. There is music in the spacing of the spheres."
Greece, Geometry, Math, Music, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Carl Sagan
"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere."
America, Science, Education

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Ingrid Bengis
"Imagination has always had powers of resurrection that no science can match."
Literature, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Albert Einstein
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
Innovators & Pioneers, Science, Education

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Albert Einstein
"If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."
Innovators & Pioneers, Science

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Albert Einstein
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, the source of all art and science."
Innovators & Pioneers, Science

Orson Welles

Arts Days: October 30, 1938: Fright Night
Horrified people all over the East Coast huddled by their radios and listened fearfully to the newscast of a Martian invasion of Earth. In Grover’s Mills, New Jersey, where the Martians had supposedly landed, people took to the streets with weapons, intent on repelling the invading army.

Soon a mob had assembled, and police were called to subdue the panicked crowd. But there were no Martians, only acting impresario Orson Welles’ overheated imagination. The entire "news broadcast" was only an adaptation of H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds, performed by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre and airing on CBS. Radio announcers were more careful to insert disclaimers during fictional programs after the War of the Worlds fiasco.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Theater, Popular Culture

Moon face looking out of a telescope

Arts Days: September 01, 1902: Sci-Fi’s First Flight
This French silent film, which features a now-iconic image of a smiley-face moon with a spaceship poking it in the eye, is widely considered to be the first science-fiction movie. Lasting only 14 minutes, the movie tells a story of astronomers who travel to the moon and fight with bug-like aliens.

Along the way, they get a close-up view of the Big Dipper constellation (with human faces peering out of each star) and a moon goddess sitting on a crescent moon-shaped swing. Le Voyage dans la Lune, its title in French, was directed by Georges Méliès. A true film pioneer, he experimented with special effects, double exposures, fades, and dissolves. His work was incredibly innovative for the times.
Innovators & Pioneers, Movies & Movie Stars, Europe, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Star Trek

Arts Days: September 03, 1969: Kirk Out
The creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, had Gulliver’s Travels in mind when he pitched his idea for a new science-fiction TV show to television executives. Featuring William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock, and the crew of the Starship Enterprise, the show earned loyal followers; some of whom wrote angry letters when the network put the show in an unpopular time slot.

After it was cancelled the following year, market research showed that in fact Star Trek had been profitable for advertisers, but it was too late to revive it. Still, tons of spin-off shows, from reruns of the original episodes to new programs like Voyager, have capitalized on the public’s early fascination with Roddenberry’s original concept.
Television, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Popular Culture

Loch Ness Monster

Arts Days: August 22, 565 C.E.: Telling Tales
Decade after decade, century after century, sightings of the Loch Ness Monster continue to be shared by word of mouth.

It’s originally told that Ireland’s St. Columba spotted a beast moving toward a swimmer in the lake. When the saint made the sign of the cross, the monster quickly retreated. Ever since, tales of a dinosaur-like creature prowling the lake’s murky depths have surfaced, even as some have used cameras, sonar, and other technologies to debunk the myth.

In this fashion, the art of storytelling carries a tale down through the centuries, regardless of whether the teller can read or write. Sometimes stories may be embellished by a speaker; other times they are surprisingly consistent from one age to the next.
Animals, Geography, Folklore, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz

Arts Days: August 15, 1939: The Great and Powerful Oz
The Wizard of Oz, based on a book by L. Frank Baum, is one of the most spectacular fantasy musicals Hollywood ever generated. Surely the audience gasped in delight when Dorothy opened the door of her twister-flung farmhouse for her first peek at Oz and the black-and-white image erupted into glorious Technicolor.

Between the antics of the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man; the green fury of the Wicked Witch of the West; and the bluster of the Wizard himself before he is revealed as a fake, there is much to savor about this gem of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The film went on to be nominated for six Academy Awards.®
Movies & Movie Stars, Musicals, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Popular Culture

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Arts Days: December 23, 1954: Water, Water Everywhere
This movie, the first science-fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, has it all: an underwater battle with a giant squid, great dialogue, and stars like Kirk Douglas as Ned Land and James Mason as Captain Nemo. The movie was adapted from a book by the French science fiction author Jules Verne.

It featured Nemo’s fantastic submarine, the Nautilus, which could stay under water for five days, and had onboard equipment to convert seawater into drinking water. To bring Verne’s deep-sea world to life, a staff of hundreds—led by director Richard Fleischer—was required. Lucky folks: They got to do much of the filming in beautiful places in the Bahamas and Jamaica.
Movies & Movie Stars, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Stunts & Special Effects, Innovators & Pioneers, Literature, Popular Culture

Thriller

Arts Days: December 02, 1982: A Monster Hit
Clocking in at almost 14 minutes, the mini-movie that accompanied Michael Jackson’s hit song “Thriller” was like no music video that had ever come before. Directed by film director John Landis and featuring voiceovers by famed actor Vincent Price, the video starred Michael Jackson as a young man on a date with his sweetie.

A cast of dancing zombies and a teenage werewolf with hideous yellow eyes are just a couple of the surprises filmed by Landis, who co-wrote the video with Michael himself. In December 2009, “Thriller” was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, which referred to it as “the most famous music video of all time."
Innovators & Pioneers, Music Legends, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Television, Music, Popular Culture, Rock & Roll

Alice's Adventures Underground

Arts Days: November 26, 1864: Down the Rabbit Hole
Reverend Dodgson was asked by ten-year-old Alice Liddell to write down the fantastic story he weaved for her and her sisters as they shared a rowboat ride in 1862. Dodgson complied, though it took him a couple of years to get the work done. He wrote a 15,000-word story filled with magical characters and strange leaps of logic.

Even as he offered the promised pages to his young friend, Dodgson was preparing to publish the book at nearly double its length by writing in fantastic new scenes (including a certain famous tea party). Using the pen name Lewis Carroll, Dodgson went on to publish his book under a new name—the mad-cap Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature, Europe, Cartoons, Comics, & Animation

John Barry

Arts Days: November 03, 1933: A Musical Bond
John Barry had been working as a composer and record producer for several years when he caught a lucky, career-making break—he was hired to work on the music for a new movie called Dr. No. This was the first James Bond film ever made, and Barry’s arrangement of the “James Bond Theme” was soon tied to the very successful string of movies, starring Sean Connery as the suave British agent named Bond. James Bond. 

Barry went on to compose the scores for 11 of the next 14 Bond films, as well as music for other popular movies, including The Lion in Winter, Out of Africa, and Dances with Wolves. For these latter three, Barry took home the Oscars® for Best Original Score.
Composers, Music, Movies & Movie Stars, Music Legends, Popular Culture, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Kurt Vonnegut

Arts Days: November 11, 1922: “A Zany But Moral Mad Scientist”
With a unique voice that melds humor, science fiction, and social commentary with the absurd, Kurt Vonnegut is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. In novels like The Sirens of Titan and Cat’s Cradle, he explores technology’s effects on the human race, (not always positive), and the dangers of social isolation.

Though his fictional works often paint a picture of a bleak world, he used wildly inventive characters—like the alien race known as the Tralfmadorians who appear in Slaughterhouse-Five—and his trademark black humor to lighten things up a little bit. Later works, such as Breakfast of Champions, are no longer overtly fantastical. As his themes shifted, so did his style in writing about them, becoming more straightforward.
Innovators & Pioneers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature, Controversial, America

Alexandre Dumas

Arts Days: July 24, 1802: Adventure Hero
The man who wrote The Three Musketeers and other literary classics first dabbled in plays and magazine articles, many of which were well received by theatergoers and readers. In fact, some of Alexandre Dumas’ best-known works, including Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, were serialized in magazines before they were published as novels.

Dumas was a literary superstar at the peak of his career and his name became synonymous with the adventure-packed historical novels at which he excelled. More importantly, no French writer since has been read by more people around the world than he.
Europe, Literature, Science Fiction & Fantasy

J.K. Rowling

Arts Days: July 31, 1965: The Magic Touch
Around the world, people of all ages are captivated by the saga of Harry Potter, the young British wizard with the lightning-shaped scar on his forehead. Harry, Hermione, Ron, Voldemort, and legions of other characters brought to life in the seven Harry Potter books, are all from the creative imagination of Joanne Kathleen Rowling.

Many children whose interest in reading was lukewarm found it stoked by the magical adventures of Harry and his gang. They and an incredible assortment of funny ghosts and frightening villains are captured in these fantastical books.
Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature, Popular Culture

Godzilla

Arts Days: July 07, 1901: Godzilla Suits Up
Just who was the guy who created the fierce Godzilla, who crushed skyscrapers with his enormous lizard fists? Credit goes to the special-effects master Eiji Tsuburaya, who built model airplanes as a kid and never forgot the thrill of seeing the American-made film King Kong in Tokyo. It was at that point Tsuburaya vowed he, too, would make monster movies.

He created costuming breakthroughs, such as “suitmation,” in which actors wear monster suits to pantomime throwing cars or squashing buildings (with sound effects added later). That’s how all of the early Godzilla movies were made, starting in 1954.

This type of movie was known in Japan as kaiju, or “strange beast” film, otherwise known as a monster movie. Tsuburaya’s ingenuity helped propel the genre to new levels of worldwide success.
Innovators & Pioneers, Movies & Movie Stars, Stunts & Special Effects, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Japan

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Arts Days: March 11, 1818: Oh, the Horror of it All
How could it be Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was only 18 years old when she started writing the book Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus?  Here’s part of the explanation: At the time she wrote it, she and her friends would entertain each other with ghost stories. Back then, Shelley wasn’t thinking about a super-tall green guy with bolts in his neck. (That’s a concept introduced by Frankenstein movies, cartoons, and storybooks.)

Truthfully, Shelley was trying to write a story warning people about the dangers of the Industrial Revolution, in which machines were taking over many jobs. Still, she used the scary idea of a person—Dr. Frankenstein—making and bringing to life a monster. Her book, published when she was 21, proved to be one of the classic examples of the Gothic fiction movement.
Literature, Science Fiction & Fantasy

Jules Verne

Arts Days: February 08, 1828: A League of His Own
Would you believe that the submarine hadn’t even been invented when Jules Verne wrote Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, kicking off the sci-fi genre with a splash?

Even as a child, Verne was a visionary, writing adventure stories that previewed today’s modern conveniences and technological wonders including tall skyscrapers, gas-powered cars, helicopters, and even television.

But sometimes his imagination and curiosity got him into deep trouble. At 12, he snuck his way onto a ship bound for India, but luckily got caught before the ship left. Let’s just say that father Pierre was none too happy. Little Jules responded, "I shall from now on only travel in my imagination." And so he did.

While his early stories, like the one about exploring Africa in a hot-air balloon, were rejected by publishers, Verne stuck with it. Eventually that story, with a few changes, appeared in print in 1863 as “Five Weeks in a Balloon.” From then on, Verne wrote new works every year until he died.
Movies & Movie Stars, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Innovators & Pioneers, Literature, Europe

Edgar Allen Poe

Arts Days: January 19, 1809: Master of the Macabre
Influential American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic Edgar Allen Poe was born on this day in 1809. He is credited with popularizing the short story in America, and contributing greatly to the emerging genres of detective fiction and science fiction.

Poe's work is considered part of the American Romantic Movement, but don't be fooled by its name; Poe's best known publications are also classified as Gothic, or literature that combines romance, mystery, and horror, and many of his stories feature themes centered on death.

Poe was also the first well-known American writer to attempt to make a living through writing alone, a decision that resulted in a financially difficult life and career. Even his most famous poem titled "The Raven" was published for nine dollars.
Innovators & Pioneers, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature, Poetry

George Orwell

Arts Days: June 25, 1903: Future Shock
Author George Orwell would often dress in old clothes and live in poorer sections of town to understand how people in different economic and social classes behaved. These experiences not only helped him write Down and Out in Paris and London, but they also influenced his sense of social justice for all.

Orwell wrote his satire Animal Farm as an allegory, with talking farm animals standing in for people. His hope was to argue the dangers of Stalin’s totalitarianism rising in the Soviet Union. In 1984, Orwell envisioned a future world in which human rights were non-existent and the government exercised thought control over its citizens. Orwell’s fertile imagination took us to some scary places even as they reminded us of the dignity of the common man.
Literature, Science Fiction & Fantasy

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