By GISELE CYR

LMS Literacy Teacher

Lewiston Middle School students examined and discussed propaganda posters during a two-day program featuring art works from the Bates College Olin Museum.

Anthony Shostak, education coordinator for the Olin Museum, presented two pieces of propaganda art from the Machias-based Beehive Design Collective, a nonprofit political organization. The works depicted negative views of biotechnology. The students found dozens of symbols in the works. These included hypodermic needles growing on the tassels of corn, Frankenstein’s monster, a puppeteer manipulating DNA strands, “nice and smart” kids, a biohazard symbol, spare parts pigs and skull and cross bones.

Lively discussion about the pros and cons of biotechnology peaked students’ interest. In addition, students began to consider some of the ethical implications involved with biotechnology. Students also examined the role of the artists, comparing them to writers who state their position clearly and then back up their positions with reasons and details. Students completed the project by writing responses to the question: “What is the artists’ position concerning the rise in biotechnology? Cite reasons and details which support their views.” A few of the essays will be published by the Bates College Olin Museum Thousand Words Project publication.

In order to balance the presentation, a follow-up class, showing more positive aspects of biotechnology was presented to the students.


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