STEAM, the incorporation of the Arts as part of the STEM process is necessary. It is VERY important. 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. 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.
A theater mask … an art piece in itself … is the means for the performer to understand and translate the drama and/or dance on stage. So is the art piece that is created in the classroom by the student to understand and explain subject content. This creative and cognitive experience is surround and exciting, which leads to greater understanding/retention and an appreciation for STEM and its motivating component, the Arts … STEAM.
DA_NASA_MMS_RYSS is a very good example of the STEAM process. My eighth grade students (Raul Yzaguirre School for Success [RYSS], Houston) two years ago studied Space weather and the NASA MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale) 2014 mission in order to make Digital Art based on their findings. They took the Science research in stride because of the anticipation of making art. They utilized various NASA web pages and images to have a better understanding of Space weather and the purpose of the NASA mission. They then took that knowledge and the images into a graphic arts software program (GIMP) to visualize this understanding via manipulation of the images to make Digital Art. By doing so also immersed them in the process of acquiring graphic arts software skills (vocational). Their art can be viewed at:
and an overview of the project can be accessed at:
To compound this STEAM process, these same students then traveled to the Dublin ISD (Dublin, Texas) to teach their students (Intermediate and Middle Schools) how to use the graphic arts software to do the same. Excitation levels were high, and empowerment came to the forefront for all the youngsters involved. The teachers present at the two-day, student workshop seemed secondary. My students were able to convey what they knew to other students, and those students were motivated through the Arts (and peer teaching) to produce “product” that was a translation of their Space weather and NASA MMS research activities. The student workshops can be viewed at:
and an overview of the workshops can be accessed at:
As I have mentioned in a previous post, showcasing of student work is also important, and the Digital Art from the RYSS classroom activity (DA_NASA_MMS_RYSS) and the student workshop was exhibited at the high school, intermediate school and a bank lobby in Dublin, Texas. The exhibition can be viewed at:
It is also online at:
Knowledge of Space weather and the NASA MMS mission will always remain with these youngsters because of STEAM and the student workshop. Underlying this process and activities is the sensitization to careers in the Sciences (Space Science), Technology, Graphic Design and the Arts.
Go to the NASA MMS 2014 web page: