SchoolArts Magazine

September 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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Page 16 of 58

P O I N T O F V I E W STEAM into Action at the Ocean CONTINUED ON PAGE 45. T here is no question that STEM concepts and constructs are vital to learning, but STEAM goes that extra step by infusing the arts and art standards seamlessly into lessons, providing students with the opportunity to explore, create, innovate, and actively participate in the learning process. By making pur- poseful connections through STEM and the arts, skills in all areas are strengthened and students gain a richer learning experience. STEAM in Practice Last spring I had the pleasure of being an artist-in-residence at Howe Hall Elementary, an arts-infused school in South Carolina. Here I investigated the outcomes of a STEAM program implemented into two kindergarten classrooms. Students were introduced to complex math and science stan- dards, then problem-solved using art and design standards. During my residency, I taught a series of ocean-themed lessons. I also organized a field trip to the Atlantic Ocean, where I activated prior knowl- edge from the classroom lessons and put STEAM into action at the ocean. Students rotated through eight rigor- ous lessons, each of which integrated two or more subjects. The following lessons are from the STEAM field trip and describe the connections between the disciplines. Science Visual art and scientific inquiry go hand in hand. Just as scientists explain the world from their observa- tions and research, artists explore the world and explain it through their artwork. Applying scientific inquiry to the art-making process, students painted what they observed at the ocean and designed a tourism bro- chure to entice visitors. Technology Technology is the application of scien- tific knowledge to invent or improve useful things or to solve problems. In South Carolina, the history of pirates is an important part of the state social studies curriculum. At the ocean, we discussed the tools and technol- ogy that would have been around during the time of Blackbeard, then used pirate technology as props for an improvisation of "a day in the life of a pirate," which met state theater standards. Engineering I focused the engineering lesson on the five-step design process of ask, imagine, plan, create, and improve. While at the ocean, each group of stu- dents was asked to build a village out of sand. The groups rotated, adding more to each sand village to improve the design's sustainability. By the end of the day the sand village had a res- ervoir, recreational spaces, a forest, a shopping center, a downtown, roads, and three subdivisions. Art Students created a form of nineteenth- century nautical artwork called a "sailor's valentine." Made originally by sailors, they were constructed out of seashells carefully affixed in a Tracey Hunter-Doniger Students were introduced to complex math and science standards, then problem-solved using art and design standards to explore each concept. 12 SEPTEMBER 2015 SchoolArts

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