SchoolArts Magazine

March 2018

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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cator must be committed to taking the art or science lesson along with students. Being present in the (alter - nate discipline) lesson will help you to slowly acquire the new skill set and develop the method of thinking that STEAM means to teach kids. Embracing Collaboration Working together, we have learned that creativity and experimentation is crucial in both art and science. Prac - ticing both elements improves the artist and scientist in any future work they do as they embrace new media and approaches. Are there teachers in other disciplines you can approach and collaborate with at your school? Lauren Monroe is the co-executive director of Technocopia, a nonproft maker space in Worcester, Massachusetts, and founder of Worcester Think Tank, an education center specializing in hands- on science, technology, and art programs for kids. Lauren has taught science for more than twelve years. Jen Swan is a teaching artist and mural painter. She currently teaches classes for the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester Center for Crafts, The Listening Center, Worcester Think Tank, and Tech - nocopia in Worcester, Massachusetts. CONTINUED FROM PAGE 12. scorpion is not the same as being able to see an actual scorpion encased in acrylic. As a bonus, increased student engagement is a welcome side effect of making the artroom a place for students to explore, learn, problem solve, and create. Our job as visual art educators is to encourage students to grow as artists and problem solvers. Do you have natural objects in your artroom to inspire young, artistic minds? Adding interesting and exciting STEAM resources will help students create art by using close observation, naturally! Amy Traggianese is a visual arts educator at Samuel Staples Ele- mentary School in Easton, Connecticut. amytragg@ N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K S TEM (science, technology, engi- neering, and math) was a great start for an interdisciplinary approach, but adding an "A" for art and design is critical. While teach- ing twenty-first century skills, art and design should be integrated with these other subjects. Students need to create and design objects that are functional, look good, and work in an innovative, elegant way. Adding scientific resources in the artroom will make learning more meaningful while creating a natural combination for young artists. STEAM seems to be a hot trend today, and it makes a lot of sense when you look closely at the National Standards for Visual Arts. Students need to use observation and investigation to create art, so adding resources from nature for artistic observation, for example, will help students in art-making. I believe that young learners need to make cross-disciplinary connec- tions through the arts, and that is why my artroom became a whole lot STEAM-friendlier this past year. Adding Scientific Specimens The notion of adding scientific specimens to my elementary artroom came from a symposium I attended at at a local art museum. I was inspired by a presentation given by the direc- tor of the Nature Lab at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The Nature Lab at RISD is a natural sci- ence collection and lending library where students have hands-on access to specimens such as shells, taxi- dermy animals, and skeletons. There are live plants and animals to support visual inquiry into biological and natural sciences. Accessing Specimens If college students had hands-on access to natural specimens, then I decided that my students should, too! As budding artists and scientists, young students need to practice care- ful observation. Insect specimens encased in clear acrylic immediately popped into my mind; I quickly found out that they are very expensive. After checking with educators I knew online through Twitter and Facebook, I was able to include appropriate sci- entific specimens for a K–5 artroom in a grant from a local learning foun- dation. After the grant was funded, I couldn't wait to have my students use these new scientific resources. Investigating Natural Objects When I unwrapped the large, hairy spiders that measured 3" across, they actually took my breath away. These beautiful and durable specimens in acrylic, perfect for observation, were made specifically for young students. Natural curiosity draws them to the specimens, even if some are a bit afraid to get near them at first. Students touched, magnified, and investigated all of these new resources. Some students drew what they saw, some created models, and others observed more closely with a magnifying glass. Symmetry and patterns were pointed out and inves- tigated. Some students had questions, others had exciting finds to share: "What is on this insect's leg?" "Why does that spider have so much hair?" "Mrs. T., Allie and I saw that scor- pion's leg move! Twice!" Engagement from Observation My students see many details of these specimens that are evidenced in their art. Looking at a picture of a Adding scientific resources in the artroom will make learning more meaningful while creating a natural combination for oung artists. P O I N T O F V I E W Amy Traggianese STEAM? Yes, Please! CONTINUED ON PAGE 57. 14 MARCH 2018 SchoolArts S T E A M CONTINUED ON PAGE 57. A s the art educator and science educator at the youth educa- tion center, Worcester Think Tank (and now Technocopia), we have spent hours working and practicing our curricula together. We have taught similar courses such as Art and Engineering, Art Chemistry, Art Geometry, Art Science Discov- ery, and Dissection and Drawing. We recognize that effective STEAM education requires time for continu- ous practice with one another in the classroom and for our own personal creative explorations. Here are some reflections on how we came to effec- tively teach in STEAM, and what we have learned from one another: From an art educator (Jen) on working with a science educator (Lauren) • Working with Lauren has rekin- dled my own love of science. • I have been pushed to embrace new art media and technology. • I have been pushed to learn new subjects and challenged to find artistic ways of teaching them. • Some of my approaches to making art have changed. I tend to now doc- ument my process of ideas through note-taking and do more research on the subjects I paint. I equate it to some of the experiences I have had in the art/science classroom when Lauren and I conduct an experiment. • I have found the maker space com- munity where we work inspiring and inventive. • I enjoy the natural progression of our ideas and interests intermin- gling as we work together. • From working with microscopes and viewing tiny microorganisms, to discussing the immensity of our own galaxy and outer space, working with Lauren as a science educator has vastly influenced my artwork. Recently, I put on an art show with a theme that directly evolved out of classes I teach with Lauren. It was titled A Painted Mosaic Exploring Earth's Delicate Ecosystem. From a science educator (Lauren) on working with an art educator (Jen) • Working with Jen has helped me to become more confident in my own art ability and consider art as an application whenever I can in my science lessons. My use of several different colored dry erase markers to draw and color graph - ics on the board in biology and chemistry has vastly increased! • I have branched out to try other art disciplines on my own (paper craft- ing, fabric arts, etc.) that I may not have noticed as being connected to science before. • By practicing art, I have become handier in the lab as a science edu- cator. My ability to creatively prob- lem solve and think outside the box (particularly in engineering) has hugely improved. • I recognize and appreciate the cre- ative break I give my students or myself in the classroom when I include art in my science lessons. The art allows my brain to explore creatively for a bit before going back to the hard science. I find that when I return to the science, I have a clearer and more mindful approach. • I have learned that to effectively embrace STEAM teaching, an edu - The Art and Science of STEAM Lauren Monroe and Jen Swan We recognize that effective STEAM education requires time for continuous practice with one another in the classroom and for our own personal creative explorations. Jen Swan, art educator, and Lauren Monroe, science educator, collaborating at Technocopia maker space. Technocopia is located in the Printers Building in Worcester, Massachusetts along with SchoolArts magazine. Photo by Tom Fiorelli. 12 MARCH 2018 SchoolArts CONTINUED FROM PAGE 14. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 57

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