SchoolArts Magazine

January 2016

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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STEAM Is [Becoming] Fundamental High School in Fairbanks, Alaska. At Lathrop, Larry worked closely with art teachers to create interdisciplinary projects. For example, for one project, he created a mecha- nism using servos and stepper motors that would rotate four parts of a modular painting. Casting molds and die-cut designs were some of the other projects that could easily be integrated into traditional art classes. Circuitry: It's Elementary Of course, STEAM projects don't need to involve expensive equipment or be relegated to high school. At Dryden Elementary School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Tricia Fugelstad has been working on exploring the use of simple circuitry in paper drawings (drydenart.weebly.com/fugleblog/ paper-circuit-robots-20). She has cre- ated an assignment in which students adorn hand-drawn robots with but- tons that activate actual LED lights. This is an effective and engaging interactive project that also teaches students the very basics of circuitry. L ast week, my family and I had the opportunity to see Random International's Rain Room at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, China. Rain Room is an immersive experience. As you enter, you are first struck by the powerful light opposite the entrance, then the field of rain between you and the exit. As you move towards the rain, it parts, letting you move freely and dryly as the downpour continues around you (unless, like my three-year-old daugh- ter, you choose to outrun the sen- sors). Like much contemporary art, Rain Room is more concerned with creating a unique sensory experience with state-of-the-art technology than producing a conventional work of art with traditional materials. Creating in the 21st Century Recently there has been a lot of con- versation dedicated to the integration of arts as part of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) program. The primary focus is, as it should be, on the development of cre- ative skills to help students meet the challenges of the twenty-first century. However, there is another significant benefit to the inclusion of STEAM in the art curriculum: We are giving students the tools and the skills to understand, analyze, and create in the new traditions of contemporary art- making. STEAM-Powered Maker Spaces My school district is in the process of creating maker spaces in the elemen- tary and high-school divisions with the assistance of science teacher Larry Enert, who previously used his engineering expertise and experience to develop a maker space at Lathrop Beyond the Practical Over the last few months in this col- umn, I've investigated the increasing necessity for the infusion of media arts into the K–12 arts curriculum. Much of my reasoning has focused on the practical—digital skills are criti- cal to most of the art-based careers that students might explore in their futures. However, the critical impor- tance of the inclusion of these new skills lies in their ability to help stu- dents express themselves creatively with the materials of their culture and time. As maker spaces and fab labs begin to populate schools, the opportunity presents itself to not only integrate design into STEM fields, but also to integrate STEM knowledge into the arts. David Gran teaches high school art and film classes at the Shanghai American School in China and is the author of The Carrot Revolution, a blog about twenty- first century art education. carrotrevolu- tion.blogspot.com, dsgran@yahoo.com We are giving students the tools and the skills to understand, anal ze, and create in the new traditions of contemporar art-making. 22 JANUARY 2016 SchoolArts David Gran M E D I A @ r + s Paper robot by Tricia Fugelstad's student, Emily, grade five

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