Presenters introduce participants to a professional development program, supported by a U.S. Department of Education grant, that promotes STEM-integrated visual arts classes. With increased STEM confidence and new technical skills, art teachers develop lessons for their standards-based art classes that use digital design, physical computing with programmable circuit boards and fabrication tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters/engravers. When students use these technologies as media for creating meaningful artwork, they likewise develop confidence in their abilities and broaden their identities both as artists and as “sciencey” people. This work with students from families with low incomes may help them imagine that they have a place in the future design economy (and in family-sustaining, in-demand STEM careers). STEM-integrated arts lessons (rather than arts-integrated STEM lessons) provoke questions about the various definitions of the transdisciplinary STEAM approach to education which typically include hands-on problem-solving, emphasis on process over product, creativity and the overlapping, transferable thinking skills that each of the component disciplines contain. Using chat, polls, breakout rooms and shared online documents during the session, presenters discuss the following with session participants:
- Is there a distinction (or a need for one) between STEM and STEAM and who is included or excluded when we make a distinction?
- Are there content and practices that are distinctly from the Arts that should be a more integral component of STEAM in order to distinguish it from STEM?
Ann Bebout, Professional Development Program Manager, Da Vinci Science Center
Karen Knecht, Senior Director of Education, Da Vinci Science Center
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