Full STEAM Ahead
By: Hayley Johnson
The idea of “STEM” today includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Imagine if you could add art to this integrated field. Art, in this case, incorporates liberal arts including social studies, language, physical art, fine art, music and design. Adding this creates the new concept of “STEAM”. A growing number of educators are moving toward adding art to STEM. Let’s look at the implications of art in our STEM world as we know it.
The importance of STEM:
-A way to provide students with the building blocks necessary for students to achieve success in an increasingly technical world
-A shift from cramming content to practicing skills that are needed to be technically literate
-Transition to more fluid, student-centered activities
Bridging the gap between art and science:
-Scientist and artist both need to be builders, inventors, and dreamers
-Research has shown a connection between art and science
-Both art and science inspire and demand creative thinking
-Creative processes in art can be utilized to drive innovation, creativity, and effective communication of ideas and findings
STEAM in action:
Subject: 7th Grade Biology
Topic: Adaptations for survival
Engage: Present the following piece of artwork by Ryuta Nakajima and give very brief background on the artist. He is an artist who blends his interests in art and science. He has a special interest in cephalopods and the students should complete the first part of a 3-2-1 bridge based solely on this image and the fact that Nakajimas art is supposed to connect art and science.
Explore: Show the following video clip and have the students complete the second 3-2-1 bridge and then make connections to their first one. Students will share their ideas and ask questions within groups.
Explain: Then they can research other examples to share with the class that use camouflage as a form of adaptation for survival similar to cephalopods. Students will create a CSI: Color, Symbol, Image to express their current understanding of camouflage or other form of organism adaptations for survival that they have researched.
Elaborate: Whether it stems from their CSI activity or they use a new idea, the students can create a piece of art (drawing, painting, cartoon, 3D model, photograph, etc.) that represents camouflage or any other biological adaptation. Their art can be symbolic or literal depending on their personal connections they made with the concept. The students will present their artwork and describe its unique depiction of the adaptation they chose to represent.
Evaluate: The 3-2-1 bridge activity, CSI activity, and the artwork piece with the presentation can all be used to evaluate the students success and progress in this unit.
More ways to utilize STEAM concepts:
Social Studies classroom in which students built and designed chariots that are pulled by the Sphero robots. Students are testing designs in our third annual tournament. Thank you @SpheroEdu @Sphero for a wonderful product #STEM #STEAM #STEMinSocialStudies pic.twitter.com/F0BKCqMXSX
— DUSTIN HARNISH (@MrDustinHarnish) December 1, 2017
— EB Thompson (@Mrs_ThompsonCST) December 9, 2014
Art does not have to take time out of what we spend with other STEM concepts, but rather add to them and aid in uncovering even more creativity and deeper thinking among our students. This can also be a new pathway for students with interest in art to make more connections and understand science in a new way when they are allowed to explore concepts artistically.
“The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin … or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.” -Mae Jemison