SchoolArts Room

SchoolArts STEAMS Ahead

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Aug 8, 2015

The work of many artists can be viewed through a STEAM perspective. I am pictured here with Mathew Reinhart at the 2014 Florida Art Education Association conference. Reinhart is a world renowned children's book author, illustrator, and paper engineer, best known for designing elaborate pop-up books.

To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.                   
              Leonardo da Vinci
 Does your art curriculum include geometric concepts, two- and three-dimensional design, learning through discovery and invention, architecture, nature, and technology? You may not realize it, but you are a STEAM teacher and it is to your benefit to make that known to your students, administrators, parents, and fellow teachers.
Initially promoted by the Rhode Island School of Design, STEAM is a response to STEM, a current educational approach with a focus upon science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEAM adds art to the acronym to underscore the importance of innovation and creativity in education.
The widespread knowledge of the importance of STEAM is evidenced in a recently developed NAEA position paper on STEAM education and Sesame Street’s Season 43 Curriculum that adds art to STEM, stating online that STEAM “helps make learning concepts relevant and enticing to young children by highlighting how artists use STEM knowledge to enhance their art or solve problems. It also provides context for the importance of STEM knowledge in careers in the arts (e.g. musician, painter, sculptor, and dancer).”
This month in SchoolArts Magazine we offer a number of meaningful approaches to including STEAM in your curriculum. Reflect on your own teaching to consider how it may already work with STEAM and don’t be shy about sharing your STEAM efforts.
NAEA Position Paper on STEAM Education, adopted April 2015
STEAM education refers to teaching and learning in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics. The STEAM approach is the infusion of art and design principles, concepts, and techniques into STEM instruction and learning. This is achieved through the use of STEAM curricula, collaboration of non-arts educators with certified/licensed art educators, teaching artists, and community-based arts organizations. It includes educational activities across all grade levels in both classrooms and in community-based settings.
STEAM approaches support the inclusion and involvement of professionals and resources from the community to support STEAM programs. Artists and designers experienced with STEAM are integral to driving workforce innovation in a variety of fields.
Visual arts content and artistic ways of thinking are fundamental and valuable components of high-quality STEAM education. NAEA believes that:
·      STEAM education values all STEAM disciplines equally
·      STEAM education is implemented through a wide variety of approaches
·      STEAM education encourages creativity and innovation
·      STEAM education acknowledges the rigor found in visual art
             NAEA believes that to be successful in STEM related career fields, students must be proficient in visual thinking and creative problem-solving facilitated by a strong visual art education.