Art and Engineering

May 30, 2023 | Melissa McCallihan

It has become a tradition for finishing the year of science with an engineering design project. Something that makes the students think outside the box and also use art and engineering together to create something useful and beautiful. The first year students worked on designing a ramp for our school. Last year I stumbled upon a project that used architecture, cardboard and furniture. The focus was driven by Frank Gehry’s corrugated cardboard chair that became a decorating success. Still today these chairs are collector’s items. But that is not what Mr. Gehry wanted for his life. He wanted to be a well known architect. Now at 94 years old, his buildings are highly regarded and rewarded. You may recognize his work. 

Here are few pieces they created:

This year, inspired by an exhibition at the MET, students will base a building design on an artist’s focus. For example the MET exhibition focuses on the cypress trees in Van Gogh’s work.

Other artist recommendations are Rembrandt and his self portraits, Monet and gardens or Yayoi Kusama  and polka dots. Students will use a medium of their choice and can work in collaborative groups. Students will share as a gallery walk on June 15 in the afternoon teams, starting at 12:40 and ending at 2:30. Email me if you’d like to attend. 


Melissa McCallihan

Teacher, Grade 6; Science Grades 6-8

Teaching children to take risks and fail well is important to Melissa McCallihan, who has taught for over 30 years. She believes children learn as much through their failures as they do through their successes. She celebrates both in her classroom. In collaboration with the middle school director, art teacher, and other fourth and fifth grade teachers, Mrs. McCallihan has been instrumental in developing the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program, an extension of the Lower School’s Shared Space model. “STEAM is where students solve problems and sometimes get it wrong,” says Mrs. McCallihan when asked about risks and failing well. “Students need to learn how to do that with grace, and to try again with grit and determination.” Mrs. McCallihan currently teaches sixth through eighth grade science.

Mrs. McCallihan cares deeply about relationships with her colleagues, students, and families. She works hard to make and maintain connections on a personal and professional level. And follows the mantra “Worship God, Love All.”

When not at school, you can find Mrs. McCallihan searching out a fantastic restaurant or hidden sight to see in New York City.

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