Painters (clockwise from left) Jason Mattis, R. Craig and Jesse Krimes put the finishing touches on the "Micro to Macro" mural designed by students at Morton McMichael School in Mantua. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
Then it zooms back in by the same power of 10, in reverse, quickly finding that couple on the picnic blanket and zeroing in to a microscopic level, probing the structure of skin cells.
"It went from the people out to the universe, and the universe back to the people, and in their skin cells," said Khia Smith, one of Volta's students. "It was weird, is what I'm saying."
"I remember that. The whole class had that 'ewww ... wow' factor," Volta responded. "Everybody liked it, but it was 'ewww' when you got in and recognize that is inside all of our skin cells."
Once you get "ewww" out of 12-year-olds, you're golden. Volta started taking the 7th graders through design exercises that would end up becoming the mural, called Micro to Macro. At the south entrance to the school, the wall is made of exploded molecular imagery, becoming plant cells and trees to the east. As the mural wraps around the corner and moves north, the imagery becomes cosmic with solar systems and planetary orbits.