Adding the arts to science produces STEAM

25 Feb

In STEM majors profit college students of color, moi wrote:
The Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM defines STEM:

What is STEM Education?
Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics
In 2001, Judith A. Ramaley, a former director of the National Science Foundation’s education and human-resources division was credited by many educators with being the first person to brand science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum as STEM. It was swiftly adopted by numerous institutions of higher education as well as the scientific communities as an important focus for education policy focus and development.
TIES always views STEM instruction and the STEM resources that support the instruction with a trans-disciplinary lens. Issues in our world arise and are demanding of solutions. Since before Da Vinci, we have taken up this call to action through the design process. It asks for a multiplicity of pathways to offer a series of plausible solutions. From that process has come the power of prototyping, and beta testing. Rarely have our classrooms offered children the chance to engage in such questioning and processes. Now, through STEM education we have the chance to invite our children to look at their school work as important to the world.
For information on how TIES STEM Consulting can work with your organization to launch a comprehensive STEM curriculum program contact us at 443-955-9168 or via email .

Many are asking whether the focus on STEM education is too narrow and arts should also be added to the curriculum to produce STEAM.

Mozart was a child prodigy. Most of us don’t come close to possessing his gifts. The Journal Times reported about the “Mozart effect.” Mozart Effect

Scientific research has found some basis for the notion that music instruction stimulates general intelligence. About 10 years ago that was called the Mozart effect, the result of some research that reported that listening to a Mozart sonata increased the ability of some college students on a test of mental ability. Popular wisdom twisted that into the notion that listening to music makes you smarter, which is more magic than science. What scientists say at the moment is that music instruction will make you smarter about music, and that for music to help children they need to begin instruction really, really early.
Music consists of rhythms and mathematic like patterns which change a child’s brain and way of thinking. Research which was published in the Journal of Neuropsychology suggests that children who study music will as adults will benefit from music study. The research shows “….that the region of the brain involved in verbal memory is larger in adult musicians than in those who are not musicians.” Mental Ability Affected by Music Study Further, Rauscher’s study concludes “the research suggests that music may act as a catalyst for cognitive abilities in other disciplines, and the relationship between music and spatial-temporal reasoning is particularly compelling.” Music Affects a Child’s Cognitive Ability

Berkowicz and Ann Myers wrote a thoughtful Education Week essay, The Arts Are Essential:

In his February 18th article in Edutopia, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, director of Stanford Humanities Lab at Stanford University wrote about the arts and said,
It is both a form of serious play governed by rules and techniques that can be acquired through rigorous study, and a realm of freedom where the mind and body are mobilized to address complex questions — questions that, sometimes, only art itself can answer: What is meaningful or beautiful? Why does something move us? How can I get you to see what I see? Why does symmetry provide a sense of pleasure?
The answers to those questions are both very personal and somewhat universal. But none can be answered without activating a different part of the brain than the part that accumulates all the information presented in 13 years of education. The arts are where we expand our ability to transcend generations and cultures. The recognition that the current dynamics of human interaction happened centuries ago as well and are recorded in literature offers a perspective no lecture or textbook can offer. The masterpieces of painters and composers, long gone, move us still. And, we can learn about textures, colors, light and sound. Producing art is an expression that connects one from the inside to the world. Music offers a study in changing times, experimentation, and expression that reveal the undertones of each period. Art is both about the creation of the piece and the appreciation of it. Simple appreciation needs attention and development these days….
Most teachers are confident that if their students were engaged and motivated, they could teach them. Well, we suggest that the evidence is telling us that presently we have students with a wider range of values about education, abilities, disabilities, challenges both in and outside of our buildings, health issues, and socio-economic and cultural differences. At the same time, we are pressed to finally make changes to our system that offer a more relevant education to our students, preparing them for the world in which they will live as adults. We have to make it different. Without art, we deny students the opportunity for
…serious play governed by rules and techniques that can be acquired through rigorous study, and a realm of freedom where the mind and body are mobilized to address complex questions — questions that, sometimes, only art itself can answer (Schnapp, 2014).
And it is through those experiences students will be better able to attend to other complex problems in science, technology, engineering, math, and society with the skill, engagement and motivation that every teacher wants for their students. Minimizing the arts makes no sense but neither does preserving them as a separate and apart from academics, especially in this time of focus on STEM subjects. They are interrelated. While we are struggling to find the best way to best educate today’s students, we cannot let the arts slip away.

There are reasons why arts education is important:
The Arts:

• Engage students in learning.
• Help children build thinking skills.
• Enhance self-discipline, perseverance, hard work and creativity.
• Provide a gateway to other subject areas.
• Promote cross-cultural learning.
• Teach the ability to utilize resources.
• Enhance interpersonal skills of cooperation and teamwork.
The Arts Help Students Become:
• Better Students
• Innovators
• Better Employees
• Problem-solvers
• Lifelong Learners
• Collaborators
Current Research says:
In 1995, those who studied the arts more than four years scored 59 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on the math portions than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.
The College Board, Profile of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, 1995
Arts education contributes significantly to general academic achievement, including achievement in science, mathematics, social studies, language arts, other subjects and to the development of general cognitive skills, self-expression and fluency.
The Schooled Mind: Do the Arts Make a Different Way of Knowing?
Arts education is related to certain fundamental indicators of education success. For example, the arts in early childhood help prepare children for their first years of school.
Evaluation of Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning through the Arts
Arts education programs are related to safer and more orderly school environments.
Safe Havens: Portraits of Educational Effectiveness in Community Arts Centers
Arts education programs are related to keeping students interested and staying in school.
The Humanities Program Evaluation
Arts education programs make strong contributions to cross-cultural understanding.
North American Indian Music Instruction: Student Self Concept Influences Upon Attitudes, Cultural Perceptions and Achievement

All areas of the brain need to be stimulated.

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
Albert Einstein

Learning and mastery of a subject is important. But, so is nourishing the “whole child.” The arts are just as important to learning as are the sciences. STEM should become STEAM.

STEM Education Coalition

What Is STEM Education?

Importance of Arts Education

Why Arts Education is important

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr.

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