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November 26, 2018

STEAM in the Art Classroom: Connecting Students, Teachers, and Ideas

By Scholastic Editors

Making cross-curricular connections can change the ways students approach their work and one another.

Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Key Takeaways

    • Collaboration is key for both students and teachers. Cross-curricular art projects are the perfect way to foster this collaboration.
    • Hands-on projects allow students to bring together aspects of art, science, history, and more in an engaging way.
    • Project ideas from Scholastic Classroom Magazines help foster teamwork and cross-curricular thinking.

    You’ve probably heard your colleagues buzzing about STEAM, the integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. But what does it mean practically to develop and teach a STEAM lesson? Can you do it alone? Will your students be engaged?

    Art teachers Meghan Reilly Michaud, Melanie Robinson, and Roni Rohr each developed studio-project lessons for the STEAM issue of Scholastic Art. Each one was amazed at the connections — both interdisciplinary and interpersonal — that took place when they brought their lessons to prime time in the classroom.

    Students Learn From Other Students

    Meghan’s high school students developed proposals for footwear designed with a specific purpose in mind.

    One of the really interesting things that came out of this lesson was that the students began to recognize how parts of their individual designs overlapped with their peers’ designs. They realized they could learn from one another about materials, structure, and design. Working as a group to brainstorm also helped students realize where and how they had the freedom to be really original.  

    – Meghan Reilly Michaud, grades 9-12, Andover High School, Andover, Massachusetts

     

    Teachers Are More Successful When They Collaborate

    Melanie’s fifth-grade students designed innovative instruments using found objects.

    When I began doing research for this lesson plan, I was unsure of how to teach it in a well-rounded way. So I chatted with my school’s music teacher, Danielle Hopwood. She was all for partnering to teach the lesson. During music class, she showed videos of Stomp and talked about sound. During art class, I shared a video about Landfill Harmonic and talked about making music with unexpected materials. Then students designed and assembled their own instruments with found materials. When they were finished, the students got into small groups, wrote pieces of music together, and performed during their music class. It was a wonderful (and LOUD!) project that I will do again soon. It was so rewarding to give students the opportunity to think about this lesson in terms of design and sound through my partnership with Danielle. Plus, I felt more confident teaching the lesson with her support.

    – Melanie Robinson, grades K-5, Cedar Springs Elementary, House Springs, Missouri

     

    Tough Ideas Get Easier When Students Think Across Subject Areas

    Roni invited her fourth-grade students to create a design that improves an existing product.

    What I loved about the project was that my students understood and were making connections between the scientific process and the creative process. We looked at Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches in Scholastic Art and talked about how he developed his ideas. He thought and wrote in the margins around his sketches, and my students did the same without being prompted as they developed designs for solar-powered surfboards, animal trackers, and cars that run on rain. This is exactly how an artist-scientist works. My art students tackled challenging problems and became designers who problem-solved like scientists.

    – Roni Rohr, NBCT, grades K-8, El Dorado Community School, Santa Fe, New Mexico

     

    To learn more about Scholastic Art, click here.

    Key Takeaways

    • Collaboration is key for both students and teachers. Cross-curricular art projects are the perfect way to foster this collaboration.
    • Hands-on projects allow students to bring together aspects of art, science, history, and more in an engaging way.
    • Project ideas from Scholastic Classroom Magazines help foster teamwork and cross-curricular thinking.

    You’ve probably heard your colleagues buzzing about STEAM, the integration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. But what does it mean practically to develop and teach a STEAM lesson? Can you do it alone? Will your students be engaged?

    Art teachers Meghan Reilly Michaud, Melanie Robinson, and Roni Rohr each developed studio-project lessons for the STEAM issue of Scholastic Art. Each one was amazed at the connections — both interdisciplinary and interpersonal — that took place when they brought their lessons to prime time in the classroom.

    Students Learn From Other Students

    Meghan’s high school students developed proposals for footwear designed with a specific purpose in mind.

    One of the really interesting things that came out of this lesson was that the students began to recognize how parts of their individual designs overlapped with their peers’ designs. They realized they could learn from one another about materials, structure, and design. Working as a group to brainstorm also helped students realize where and how they had the freedom to be really original.  

    – Meghan Reilly Michaud, grades 9-12, Andover High School, Andover, Massachusetts

     

    Teachers Are More Successful When They Collaborate

    Melanie’s fifth-grade students designed innovative instruments using found objects.

    When I began doing research for this lesson plan, I was unsure of how to teach it in a well-rounded way. So I chatted with my school’s music teacher, Danielle Hopwood. She was all for partnering to teach the lesson. During music class, she showed videos of Stomp and talked about sound. During art class, I shared a video about Landfill Harmonic and talked about making music with unexpected materials. Then students designed and assembled their own instruments with found materials. When they were finished, the students got into small groups, wrote pieces of music together, and performed during their music class. It was a wonderful (and LOUD!) project that I will do again soon. It was so rewarding to give students the opportunity to think about this lesson in terms of design and sound through my partnership with Danielle. Plus, I felt more confident teaching the lesson with her support.

    – Melanie Robinson, grades K-5, Cedar Springs Elementary, House Springs, Missouri

     

    Tough Ideas Get Easier When Students Think Across Subject Areas

    Roni invited her fourth-grade students to create a design that improves an existing product.

    What I loved about the project was that my students understood and were making connections between the scientific process and the creative process. We looked at Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches in Scholastic Art and talked about how he developed his ideas. He thought and wrote in the margins around his sketches, and my students did the same without being prompted as they developed designs for solar-powered surfboards, animal trackers, and cars that run on rain. This is exactly how an artist-scientist works. My art students tackled challenging problems and became designers who problem-solved like scientists.

    – Roni Rohr, NBCT, grades K-8, El Dorado Community School, Santa Fe, New Mexico

     

    To learn more about Scholastic Art, click here.

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