Monday, January 26, 2015


Full STEAM Ahead!
As an art teacher, I find so many ways that art education melds with the STEM initiatives, and from now on I'm adding the A.  In the junk drawer of my mind, I see so many relationships where Art is an integral part of the business of getting kids, not just girls, excited about observing the world around them and applying what they learn to their everyday lives in so many positive ways.  Both science and art are all about observation.
A 2nd grader's perspective work
   Part of my curriculum includes perspective and proportion.  Students learn how to use parallel lines, horizons, and vanishing points to recreate in 2D much of the 3D reality around them.  There's some geometry involved, too.
Understanding perspective in the landscape
   In summer we warm up with what I call Backyard Naturalist.  We get quiet and listen to the world, and note what we hear.  We notice the air and how it feels; we pay attention to the weather.  We observe the world with each of our senses one at a time, and look all around us and record the details. We use field guides to identify the plants, trees, insects and animals we see, and each student keeps a nature journal.
Backyard Naturalists
   When we work on faces and figures, not only are we learning the art of proportion, and the math of comparative measurement; we learn a lot about anatomy, and how negative space is equally important to the actual subject we are recreating. 
We learn how values create the appearance of volume.  

We find ways to create visual energy on a piece of paper!

It was no surprise to me that others were thinking the same thing:

Rhode Island School of Design thinks Art and Design must be added to the STEM model as "America is once again turning to innovation as the way to ensure a prosperous future.Yet innovation remains tightly coupled with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math – the STEM subjects. Art + Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century."

Many schools are also hot on adding Art to the STEM curriculum, as noted here in THE Journal: For These Schools, Adding Arts to STEM Boosts Curriculum.

And this article in Education Week talks about the equal importance of Art in bringing about the innovative thinking necessary for STEM initiatives to work in developing 21st century citizens.
STEAM is the perfect balance of our universal nature as observers and innovators
So, I'm not just blowing hot air here.  All this STEAM business got me to thinking about a few STEAMy people I know, and how far-reaching the associations can go.

Next installment: STEAMY Women

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