What does STEAM integration actually look like? Well, an example would be a science class studying Darwin who takes time to explore Darwin’s sketches. When Darwin was studying birds on the Galapagos Islands, he sketched them. Today Darwin’s Finches are part of both the science world and the art world. Perhaps the next step might be to encourage students to participate in some urban bird watching and sketching of the birds they find. We’ve mentioned in the past that the Cornell School of Ornithology is a great resources for urban bird watching lesson plans.
At Pop Goes the Classroom we often do an ice breaker called the Polymath Polyhedron. As you can tell from the name one of the goals of this exercise is to increase scientific vocabulary, specifically the term “poly”. In this exercise youth are challenged to create a list of personal talents. They are then challenged to create a polyhedron with as many sides as the number of talents listed. They then decorate their polyhedron with art that represents their talents. Polyhedrons can be grouped together to form kinetic mobile sculptures. For younger students we change the lesson to have the children create two dimensional polygons and we challenge them to label the sides and to decorate the center with a repeating pattern.
This activity fully encompasses the integration of art into STEM learning. It allows a student to build a representation of themselves through a mathematical medium that when decorated and hung in mobiles becomes an art experience.