STEM was coined by Dr. Judith Ramaley in the early 21st Century. She advocated that learning is best accomplished while solving real world problems or pursuing innovation. Many educators now want to put the A (Arts) in STEM to merge knowing and doing.
Teachers of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, how do you think STEM can converge with the Arts to increase creativity and innovation, both 21st Century Skill?
Your questions relates to an email I just received from a middle school science teachers. In Arizona (and in 13 other states) Qwest gives out grant funding to teachers who have an innovative project that integrates technology. Well, in AZ the Qwest grant proposal had to focus on STEM. I had the privilege of reviewing these grant proposals and there were some that integrating the Arts into their STEM focus.
The middle school teacher, Josh A,, who just emailed shared his success from the grant project titled"Raising the Profile of Middle School Science Through Filmmaking". Here is what he wrote: "I just wanted to write you and fill you in as to what has happened so far with my grant. I received video equipment, computers, and editing equipment. We started by creating three physics movies. Each of these movies focuses on Newton's laws of Motion and are pretty good. Students chose different styles to show that they understood the concepts. This year we are in full swing and have already begun making movies with the students. I am also "interviewing" students right now, having them answer a selection of questions that are based on common misconceptions in science. Students will answer the questions in front of the camera in the beginning of the year and then at the end of the year and we will compare answers. I already have students asking if they can do different projects with the camera this year, like filming flowers open, decomposition of fruit, etc. I plan on having about 35-40 student made science movies by the end of the year."
It seems to me that film making, art and technology go hand-in-hand.
Another grant project was titled: "Creating Music with Technology".
I think this is such an excellent question! I don't see how science, technology, engineering, and mathematics can be taught without some kind of art / creativity component. STEM is all the rage right now. I see many ways to integrate the arts into STEM related units. In fact, art educators have merged all of these subject areas into their curriculum for years. From building models to creating math related art, it is very easy to combine subject areas. I too have made videos with the students who "acted out" questions on the science portion of our state assessment. I could make lists of all the art projects I have done over the years that could be easily used to support STEM programs. Also, this is a great way to promote collaborations with other teachers.
Sheree (aka: wizzlewolf)
Just found this article and it relates:
Why Scientific Innovation Needs The Arts - The Guardian (UK) 11/14/10
This is an interesting program and has much Higher Education level support for K12 student involvement. Have you been involved with this program as a teacher? Have you had students in the program? What personal experience can you share with us? I'd love to hear more.
Holly Yanco is the brains behind the operation. She is an amazing person and has developed the Artbotics program through an NSF grant. I've attended the teacher training session and loved it. Teacher training sessions are done throughout the year and Holly hopes to bring the program nationwide
Recently the program I work on, Dot Diva (www.dotdiva.org) had a launch party at the Microsoft Center in Cambridge, MA and we showcased two of her Artbotics students and their work.
We have had some amazing results with high school students at Taos Academy in New Mexico with our STEMArts pilot program...www.stemarts.com. Our vision is to encourage interdisciplinary multi-age collaborations that integrate art, science and technology while proposing creative solutions to real world problems. STEMArts experiments with innovative ways to engage high school students in meaningful collaborations that help them find their passion. ....participating students have improved in their science/math scores and their interest in school increased drastically.
What good is engineering if you do not have the creativity to envision future projects? Would technology have ever progressed without innovation? The "thinking" of the Arts definitely influences the more practical applications. Schools need to understand the value of the arts in developing free-thinking and imaginative people. I think some of the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the teachers of the Fine Arts. In my music classroom, I tie in all curricular areas as much as possible. Some students truly struggle with the core curriculum subjects. Those same students often look forward to coming to school just for their music or art classes. A positive move to inclusive education program develops well-rounded, future-thinking adults. STEM should become STEAM....The heat of good education produces STEAM.
I am pleased to meet another supporter. I have recently been working on an International Competition for solving real world problems. While it is far from my present assignment of Music education, it speaks directly to the STEM process of working on real world problems. The critical thinking and collaborative skills of performing in a band or chorus develops strong skills for my students to work on other areas.
It is good for your students to meet you on grounds other than the classroom. I'd love to hear about the real life problem chosen, how your students do with the competiion what ideas they generate when you can tell us.
In Math we often took real life problems brought to us by the community and parents and reported back our best answers and recommendations. Students were so much more involved in a problem they knew was of value to an adult in the community.
I can answer this question in two words - Destination ImagiNation. This international non-profit provides open-ended challenges that are solved by teams of students, who present their solutions at tournaments. The 7 challenges have different focuses so there is something to please everyone - technical, scientific, fine arts, improvisation, architectural/engineering, service learning, and early learners. But every challenge requires a theatrical presentation which can include any arts that the teams wish to feature. The theory is that the greatest scientist or architect in the world won't get very far if he/she can't present his/her findings in a creative and attention-getting way.
Check out the program at www.idodi.org - look at the challenge summaries on the 2011-2012 Season tab.
This is an after-school program that can be led by teachers and/or parents. It draws direct connections to the content learning standards and is right on target with Common Core. My local non-profit receives some matching grant funding to run Destination ImagiNation in Maryland.
The Rhode Island School of Design has been active in this area with an initiative called STEM to STEAM. Here are a few links:
I don't know much about it beyond what I've read, but it sounds promising.
At any rate it's interesting to hear that their are multiple efforts on this front. It is certainly needed.
I just watched a TED talk recently that shows how the arts can blend with STEM. The video is wonderfully moving, so I encourage you to watch it.
To learn more about the "Dance Your PhD" program, you can visit: http://gonzolabs.org/dance/
What do you think about this idea? Do you think that your students could work with the dance or music department to help explain a difficult concept?
This is an exciting idea for co-teaching a science topic. I can visualize how this becomes a great opportunity to bring 21st century learning into the classroom, perhaps be a project-based activity for students to develop, create, and share their product with our global community. I hope many of our members will take a look at this idea and send it to a colleague.
Do let us know if you try this idea at any grade level with any science topic and how it goes.
Thanks for sharing this, Crystal! I read about the Dance Your PhD contest shortly after the winners were announced. I think it's a really great idea, especially when you think about just how complex some dissertations/degree subject matters are to the non-STEM-specific person. Using the arts to describe complex concepts makes them more easily accessible and comprehensible to people, and possibly makes them less scary to students who might never consider entering STEM due to feeling intimidated or feeling discouraged that STEM=not fun. But these PhD students show that you can be in the STEM world and still embrace the arts and vice versa.
I think integrating art and creativity into the STEM curriculum is a must! I teach STEM/elementary engineering at my school as part of the Fine Arts rotation and many of our activities include art standards/benchmarks. I do a lot of hands-on problem solving project based learning with the students to help them understand some of the science and engineering (not to mention mathematical) concepts that are otherwise more difficult for the students to grasp. We began our first unit of the year, Engineering Design Process, by the students taking an everyday object such as a straw, spoon, or popsicle stick, and turning it into something else that is useful. This required a great deal of creativity and art. About half of the supplies in my engineering lab are supplies that can be found in most art teachers rooms.
Hello Michelle, thanks for posting! I would love more information about your program. We are getting ready to turn my K-4 Computer Lab "special" into a STEM course. Would love to see your curriculum and/or some of your units, understand how you structure the classes and differentiate, how often you see the students, etc. More on our story: http://blogs.ncs-nj.org/k4stemlab/?p=157. I'm @kjarrett on Twitter and am not following you! Let's connect!
Jane, interesting that you should ask how STEM can converge with the Arts to increase creativity and innovation. I attended the California Science Education Conference this past October in Pasadena. The Saturday evening session was The Art of Science Learning—Turning Imagination into Innovation. During the session Wyland spoke about painting 100 “Whaling Wall” murals to educate the public and raise awareness about environmental issues. Other speakers included Harvey Seifter, founder of the Art of Science Learning and Janet Yamaguchi, Vice President of the Discovery Science Center. A panel discussion followed the presentations.
Harvey Seifter presented research conducted with Fortune 500 corporate leaders. One point I found quite intriguing was the business leaders’ perspective in terms of a significant “innovation gap” in the workforce preparedness. The business leaders consider creativity, collaboration and communication to be critical to their companies’ competitiveness, yet are finding those qualities and skills lacking in their potential employees. With this in mind, merging the Arts with STEM can help to improve the workforce preparedness in the future.
Janey Yamaguchi shared these science and art tips for educators:
Incorporating art into STEM fields is a wonderful way to enhance the learning experience. The AAAS building, where Science NetLinks is developed, has an art gallery that highlights the intersection of art and science. I just blogged about the latest exhibit focused on the historical, scientific, and global impact of malaria. The exhibit is a great example of the way art and science can combine to help reach a broader audience.
As people have mentioned, AAAS also sponsors the quirky Dance Your Ph.D. contest by the Gonzo Scientist whose occasional online Science column is devoted to the intersection among science, culture, and art.
Another way AAAS & Science celebrate art as a way to communicate scientific ideas is the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge. The challenge spotlights ways people have translated scientific data into formats that can be better understood by students and the general public. Check out this blog post to learn more, view a slideshow, and watch videos.
Because my work is about career planning and development, I see this question through a particular lense that looks for the connections that folks expeience in their lives - how are Art and STEM connected. So when this discussion resurfaced ... I was pondering. Then in the mail today comes an interesting idea from the American Chemical Society.
Is that painting in your attic an original Old Masters print? Is your grandmother’s stained glass really 800 years old (Hint: metal nanoparticles)? Using modern instruments, a conservation scientist can identify the chemical make-up of pigment from just a single microscopic particle of the colorant. While chemistry cannot appraise the value of your art, it can help confirm if the item you have is historic (or a fake). Kristin Wustholz of the College of William and Mary will share analytical methods that are applied to art conservation. Do you have a piece for the Antiques Roadshow?
This is the topic of a coming webinar (FREE) that is part of their
Thought I'd share this story from NPR:
Artists were asked to create works based on science fair projects for SciArt, "an art-meets-science mashup" sponsored by Intel.
"Scientists often struggle to explain their work to us nonscientists. Art to the rescue! In a new collaboration, artists are taking the inventions of teenage scientists and turning them into posters. Science inspires art. And the art inspires questions."
Recent blog post from Scientific American:
"Camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer. Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome. Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology. Steve Jobs described himself and his colleagues at Apple as artists."
I think this is an interesting piece about a researcher at Scripps who creates medical illustrations with watercolors. It's worth it to click through to both his site and to that of the PhD student mentioned late in the story, who has some amazing jewelry based on amino acids.
Here's a fun idea for your elementary school classroom: Science Friday radio show is asking for crowd-sourced pictures of fall leaves.
(And if you decide to participate, here's Science NetLinks' K-2 lesson, Look at Those Leaves!, to tie it back to your science curriculum.)
The Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center has an a gallery of images from Landsat observation satellites. There are three "Earth As Art" collections that showcase striking images of geological formations and agricultural patterns. Earlier this year, the public voted for the top five images which can be seen here. Below is an image of the Yukon Delta in southwest Alaska.
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/USGS
As a science teacher, engineering teacher, and now science curriculum specialist working on a design team to build our own STEAMM academy, I found all these posts very enlightening, and i've bookmarked all of the links.
Just in case you all were wondering, our extra "M" stands for medicine. Our vision is to open a 6-8 middle school in the fall.
I wonder if any of you have ever come across a "STEAMM" school before? I'd love some feedback, resources, and suggestions for how to turn our vision into a reality.
The winners of the 2012 International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenge have just been announced. The competition was created to "recognize the best examples of projects that bring scientific information to life. The goal was to encourage new ways to visualize data-efforts that are increasingly important for conveying scientific principles and ideas across disciplines and to the general public, and for revealing the hidden beauty of structures on scales from nanometers to the cosmos."
If you are in the DC area, come to Images of Our Solar System: Science Meets Art next Wednesday, March 27, from 5:30-8:00 pm at AAAS. The Planetfall exhibit features images of the Sun, Earth, other planets, planetary satellites, asteroids, and more. The opening event will feature a discussion with artist Michael Benson and Nancy Chabot, a planetary geologist, followed by a reception.
This event is FREE but you must RSVP.
If you can't make it to the opening, the exhibit will be up in the AAAS Art Gallery through June 28.
Hope to see you there!
If you head over to this NPR story on how "Science Rap B.A.T.T.L.E.S. Brings Hip-Hop into the Classroom," you can check out two videos on how middle- and high-school students are using music to share what they're learning in the science classroom.
This blog post from National Geographic Education talks about how teachers can use mapping technology to give context to English Language Arts. It's an awesome way to get literature students interested in geography, mapping, and technology, and it also has potential to engage technology-loving students with their reading material! Check it out: Mapping Tools to Teach English Language Arts? | Nat Geo Education Blog.
"With seventy artworks from sixteen different artists, the new exhibition discusses policy issues on science-based topics such as health, education, immigration, security, agriculture, and the environment. The exhibit, including batik dyed silks that discuss climate change, a spider sculpted from scissors that were confiscated by the TSA, and Dutch still-life styled paintings fueled by genetic research--is intended to provoke discussion about how policy in these areas has evolved over the past four decades, and how the conversation may change over the next forty years."
If you are in the DC area, please stop by our building and take a look! The gallery is FREE and open to the public from 9-5 on weekdays.
Pop Art: Gorgeous Blooms of Paint, Made With Exploding Balloons is an article in Wired profiling artist Fabian Oefner. In a series of photographs he captured split-second images of richly colored paint flying off exploding balloons.
"My work could be described as visual science. I’m trying to find out more about the world surrounding me by creating images that are a gateway to an invisible dimension.”
Be sure to check out the artist's website where you'll find his work visualizing sound with crystals, experimenting with the magnetic properties of ferrofluid, and creating nebulas with fiber glass lamps.
We've got a great new exhibit at AAAS headquarters in DC called Beauty and the Brain. Check out my blog post about it. If you are in the area stop by and have a look. We also welcome school visits. If you'd like to inquire about that just ask me!
The exhibit is based on the research of Dr. Ed Connor of Johns Hopkins University. It's ongoing research on the neuroscience of aethetics. It even features a 3-D component and 3-D glasses. I think there is lots that can be done with it from an educational standpoint.
Winners of the 2013 Nikon Small World Competition were announced today. This contest showcases "the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."
This image of Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), a colonial plankton organism by Wim van Egmond took first place.
Go check out the rest of the stunning photos!
I love this beautiful paper-puppet animation from the NY Times celebrating the life of A.R. Wallace, the man who is co-credited with Darwin for the theory of natural selection.
Although Alfred Russel Wallace made one of the most important scientific discoveries in history, he’s been all but forgotten.