Patterns in Nature Inspire Earthworks

From STEM Faculty and STEM Lead Concentration Mentor Dr. Meghen Tuttle and Director of STEAM Education and Fine Arts Department Chair Julie Fisher 

Biology and Photography students drew inspiration from patterns in nature and the ephemeral Earthworks produced by artist Andy Goldsworthy this past week during an interdisciplinary series of lessons.
First, students were tasked with exploring patterns in nature — from spirals to waves to tessellations and more — after which they worked in groups to identify patterns in various photographs. Then, we watched a short video showing Goldsworthy in action and turned to several books with photographs documenting his work to facilitate larger group discussions and gain inspiration. We evaluated his formal design choices and use of natural materials to accentuate the environment without disturbing it.

Kaylen R. ’26 - I really appreciated this project on creating an artwork that doesn’t harm anything natural. Something that was a big deal to me about this project was that we were trying to take natural patterns without trying to recreate something from nature, just accentuate it. 

Students were then released outside in their groups to find a location nearby, gather materials for their own Earthworks installation, and lay out a formal design to be documented with images. 

Riko K. ’25 - This project was a very refreshing way to design in nature using nature that we normally see. Also, by working as a group, I was able to learn about ideas that I would not have thought of on my own.

This project forced students to interact with nature in new ways and allowed them to see the beauty and intricacy of the world around them through an artistic and scientific lens.  

Mia D. ’26 - I really enjoyed this project because I enjoy art and don’t spend much time outside and digging deep into nature, so being able to mix art and nature was really fun for me.

Students in Biology worked to classify all of the natural materials they planned to use, while students in Photography documented the entire process. 

Aradeal H. ’26 - This project was a very interesting way to show how to use iNaturalist and NoodleTools, and how to take a step away and see the art in biology. It was a great way to combine my love for art and my Bio class.

All students worked together to design and install the Earthworks. Afterward, they reflected on the process as a group, producing a composite document complete with photographs, materials classification, their written reflections, and citations for their research.  

Anais P. ’26 - Creating the Earthwork was fun but also a little challenging when our original idea didn’t fit what we had imagined. Even though our final design didn’t look exactly how we thought it would, it was still a great way to interact with the world around us.

We hope you enjoy the photographs of these students’ experiments with patterns in nature.
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