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To combine the Arts with STEM is to motivate, engage and empower students to pay attention to and understand/retain content in the Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The creation of art … the making of something that comes from “within” … has always been a boon for the psyche, a gratifying experience that adds to self-esteem and provides relevance … meaning.

This creative and cognitive experience is surround and exciting, which leads to greater understanding and retention of content and an appreciation for STEM and its motivating component, the Arts … STEAM. The Arts I will be discussing as the motivating component will be the Digital Arts … manipulating research images in graphic arts software such as GIMP, a Photoshop freeware equivalent.

The key factor in all of this is the teacher being willing to learn and teach the software to the students so they are empowered to use their creative skills to visualize STEM content, in this case, Space weather and the upcoming NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale 2014 mission. Let’s take a look at a few examples of my 8th grade students’ work, 2011-2012 school year, which are a result of extensive online research about Space weather/NASA MMS mission and utilization of the tools/filters in GIMP (graphic arts software).

Go to: http://tomrchambers.net/stos_pres.pdf

to view examples and read more about the incorporation of the Digital Arts as part of the STEM process. “Moving STEM Towards STEAM” was presented as a part of the STEMx13 Global Education Conference (September, 2013).

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