A frequent theme that I have covered on this blog is the confluence of science, technology, engineering, art and math (aka STEAM). STEAM learning is important and timely for many reasons. The arts are a good way to relieve burnout among people in high stress fields like medicine. Collaborations between artists and STEM practitioners are important to each discipline. Artists who communicate using science, technology and math can expand upon who views their work and how/where it can be shown. Opportunities for presenting STEAM-based artwork extend beyond museums and galleries. Examples include Mary Mattingly’s Swale, Stepanie Dinkin’s Project al-Khwarizmi (PAK) and Mel Chin’s Flint Fit. Scientists, engineers and mathematicians who employ artistic studio habits of mind develop a compassionate mindset and make innovative breakthroughs that serve humanity and strengthen our social, emotional and cognitive wellbeing.
All of the above reasons are why STEAM-based learning initiatives have been implemented in many schools. STEM courses should explore the arts for outside of the box inspiration and empathetic ways of solving problems. Art classrooms should make computers, digital media software, 3D printers, nuts, bolts, switches and gears as readily available as paintbrushes and paints.
STEAM learning is an obvious pedagogical development, since art has been at the forefront of many scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Art was the crux of Fröbel’s concept of kindergarten (see prior blog posts about Fröbel). His 19th century Fröbel Gifts continue to inspire generations of young students by helping them understand the world through art-centered explorations with materials. Many leading architects, engineers and mathematicians have cited that playful learning with Fröbel Gifts influenced their own breakthroughs.
Because of the high demand for STEAM learning, I have created an Artfully Learning ‘STEAM pack,’ a PDF document full of fun/useful/creative STEAM related articles, resources and materials.