Super Senses and Art


Creativity – the skill to devise new solutions that has value – is considered as a teachable skill. Once regarded as the work of genius, the focus is now on understanding what conditions that encourage creativity.

A tightly controlled classroom or home environment is the reality for many children. It is easier to structure a task for children and students, the end results may be easier to predict and it may look neater. Yet, creative ideas and big jumps often occurs when children are given freedom to explore possibilities, develop their own ideas, and look for potentials with materials that they have chosen.

Art is a subject that often lack the traditional focus on right and wrong answers. There is more freedom to explore ideas and materials. In this blog post, we will combine art and science.

Having lots of ideas and exploring options  is a vital component in creativity and providing an environment with tools and materials that children can use to ” test crazy and wild ideas” either in their head on the paper makes the activity not only more engaging but also a fuller learning experience.

Mind maps provides children with a fantastic opportunity to explore options and to get new insights and ideas. Mind mapping makes the thinking visual. The first idea is often not the best and by looking at the different branches and writing down ideas it is possible to push the boundaries. The aim with the Think Dive approach is to help children learn approaches to make creativity happen. A Think Dive into an ocean  brimming with potentials.

In the mind map below the aim was to use science to get ideas for art projects.

The “Think Dive” branch in the mind map

  • Get art ideas
  • Focus on eyes
  • Describe the human eye
  • How to draw an eye

The branch “Why Senses” explored how we use our senses.

  • Find food
  • Interact
  • Learn about the world
  • Experience world
  • Survival

The branch “Human Eyes” describes ideas that can be used to draw a human eye and to understand how it works.

  • The white in the eye is more blue or pink
  • Eyes are a sphere, but some part of it are hidden in the eye socket
  • Human eyes are small
  • We see colours such as blue, red, yellow and orange
  • We do not see infrared or ultraviolet




Exploring how different animals or humans may see the world and how their eyes may have evolved in different ways can be used as inspiration for ideas. Comparing and contrasting different worlds in a great tool to use to get new ideas.

  • Compare ultraviolet and infrared worlds

000610Photo: NASA Ciel des Hommes

rusty9_irPhoto: NASA

Also we can imagine that we have

  • Several eyes like a box Jellyfish
  • Big eyes to help to see in the dark, or to detect movements or enhance field vision

We got the following ideas:

  • Make a drawing of an infrared animal


NASA has a great blog post called Infrared Zoo Gallery. Pop art with a twist!

  • Make a sculpture of an animal with giant eyes – four eyes or more. . .
  • Make a series of historical eyes. How have artists drawn eyes throughout history.

The ideas may not be new, but the child or the students learn to generate their own ideas. And  ideas such as painting an animal in infrared with eyes drawn from several different angles may appear. A twist on Picasso who put two eyes on the same side of the face.

A similar approach can be use to searching for ideas related to our other senses. Ideas related to smell can be great fun. There are some really strange looking noses, for example, the Pinocchio Frog. Or why not make a smelly art installation. . . .


Photo: Treehugger

Ideas can be collected in a mind map over a long period. You can read more about how to use mind mapping to think creatively at Tony Buzan’s blog.

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