Teaching or learning in a STEM-centric environment? Psst… you forgot the A for Arts!
That's right – in a new era of all things science, technology, math and engineering, we need not look past art and design as the broad-spectrum stitching that binds the others together. After all, the cultivators of STEM education over at Sesame Street have already pivoted to tackle this all-too-important topic of integrating art into their shows!
At least, understanding the correlation between colors, lines and spacial reasoning is knowledge that anyone can benefit from, even beyond building a robot. At most, the basic principles of design serve to bolster an understanding of how our human eyes and brains consume and process information – adhering entrepreneurial visions with a creative glue that will continue to prove its worth way past your typical career trajectory. From this perspective, it is only fair that STEAM rightfully reserves its place in our new educational curricula.
You Put the Art in Smart!
So why not art? Perhaps it is considered an inherent ancestral talent that just occurs naturally throughout our daily blend of habitually hasty decision making – and we truly don't need to teach or learn these innate skills, since they're encoded into our DNA.
Well, that's just a hoot! Let's use this same reasoning for some alternative inherent ability – like walking, for instance. If you rolled a perfect 20 and were born with a shiny pair of fully-functioning legs – guess what? You can't walk yet! You first need to know they exist on the lower half of your torso, then see if/how they move, struggle to stand up, discover any limits, shift your weight, manage balancing, take equally measured strides and remember which foot is where…all the time, every time you walk.
Of course, this example is something all legged creatures can eventually do with enough practice, but to the point of my obtuse comparison, I challenge you to design your new math-based, bioengineering technology without setting an artistic standard of some kind. If it's going to have buttons, lights, sounds and a purpose – it's more than likely going to suffer if you don't use some design basics to make it physically usable. Moral is, art is necessary in new age curricula.
The Importance of Adding the A to STEM
The best possible way to explain just how important art is to STEM education, is to point out a prominent moment in STEAM history. An ambitious and vibrant young artist of his time, Leonardo Da Vinci started most if not all of his engineering projects with a few sketches. Where art may seem like a secondary skill to today's curricula,
Da Vinci set the standard that all science, tech, engineering and math cannot be visually realized by others, without a preliminary sketch of the idea and then expanding on it at each iteration. Thanks, Leo!
Fun Ways to Build Up Your STEAM Curriculum
By having your students recreate a complex or otherwise slow, non-viewable process, you can visually stimulate and ultimately captivate your student and classroom!
- Tell a "Choose your own adventure" story
Build flowcharts for simple day-to-day routines or complex computer engineering processes and system structures By designing a flowchart, your students will begin to see complex systems as they are plotted out over time and the connections between them!
Create comparison animations for efficiency and productivity enhancement Agricultural processes like the above example, can be a great pre-process for learning about efficiency and productivity in your activities!
The Right Tools for the Job
So, you've seen a few examples of projects that utilize an amazing online animation software called Animatron. Maybe you've heard of it? This chromebook-accessible cloud-based program is just one example of the many great tools out there for STEAM curriculum building. With its impressive tools and intuitive interface, create your classroom projects, presentations, process animations and story-driven topics with this one-of-a-kind web application! With the right tools in your classroom, you and your students will be creating all kinds of visual learning guides in no time!
Build STEAM in your curriculum today by discovering just how important the arts are when applied to the old STEM way of life 😉
Enjoy your new STEAM curriculum-building tool and be sure to send us any comments, questions or suggestions to Feedback@animatron.com, for any STEAM-related topics for the future!
'Til next time, eager young minds!
-Your friendly "Animatron Guru"