Dali Atomicus (Phenomenon)

Contributor
Time Magazine Philippe Halsman
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Phenomenon
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This portrait by Philippe Halsman  shows a great deal of mid-air action.  Cats, paintings, a footstool, water and an artist (Salvador Dali)  appear suspended in space.  (This image is not photoshopped.)  Use the “Click to Expand” button to show just the image without the explanatory text.  This phenomenon could stimulate the following driving questions:

- How did they create this picture?

- Why does it look like gravity got turned off?

- How does gravity work, anyway?

- Is gravity doing the same thing to all the objects in the photo?

- Are the objects falling? Are they falling in the same way?  If they aren’t falling, why aren’t they?

NOTE: depending on your image quality, one painting at the back of the image may clearly show partial female nudity.  This may or may not be appropriate for your classroom.  

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-PS2-5 Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.

Clarification Statement: Examples of this phenomenon could include the interactions of magnets, electrically-charged strips of tape, and electrically-charged pith balls. Examples of investigations could include first-hand experiences or simulations.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to electric and magnetic fields, and limited to qualitative evidence for the existence of fields.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This is a phenomenon which may be used to introduce ideas about fields. A teacher can have show the picture and share that it is not photoshopped. Students answer the questions: “What do you observe? What do you wonder?” Almost invariably at least one student will note “it looks like there isn’t any gravity” or will wonder “how gravity got turned off”. This acts as a springboard for ideas about where and how gravity acts on objects, and what would need to happen for it to look as if gravitational fields did not exist. These could lead to students’ own experimental designs and evaluations.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This is a phenomenon, not a lesson. It is suggested that the teacher encourage students to ask questions about this unexpected-looking phenomenon, in order to begin a study of gravitational forces and fields.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This is a phenomenon, not a lesson. It is suggested that a teacher guide students to an understanding that although the picture was designed to look like there is no gravity, there of course really is, due to the nature of gravity and its fields. Students can come up with ideas about how gravity’s force field was overcome. Further information about the image, how it was made, and why it was made to look like that can be found in the description on the image’s web page, in the linked video starting at 2:32, and also at https://iconicphotos.org/2009/05/08/dali-atomicus/ and http://www.shootingfilm.net/2013/04/how-famous-dali-atomicus-photo-was-taken.html

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
This is a phenomenon, not a lesson. It is suggested that the students be asked to consider how the effects in the picture might have been caused, given that “regular Earth gravity” is in play. (See Tips for the Core Idea for links to information about this.) The trajectory of the water can also lead to questions about how objects travel under gravity. The concept of Cause and Effect can be revisited and expanded upon later during the study of gravity, by examining the relationship between a cause (mass and distance) and the effect (gravitational force field of a particular strength, even when objects are not touching). A contrasting example might be a picture of astronauts in free fall, who also look like there is no gravity even though there is.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Not applicable. This resource is a phenomenon. Suggested ideas for relating it to performance expectation, core idea, cross-cutting concept, and practice are mentioned in the respective Tips sections above.

  • Instructional Supports: Not applicable. This resource is a phenomenon.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Not applicable. This resource is a phenomenon.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Not applicable. This resource is not interactive.