Education Weekly recently featured a school that is learning through the arts by infusing arts-based techniques into the learning and retention of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). We are thrilled to see such innovation in the classroom.
Learning through the arts with STEM appears to be gaining a stronger foothold at a time when advocates are struggling to ensure time and support for their disciplines.
Photosynthesis may be an unlikely topic to inspire an opera or ballet, but in a 2nd grade classroom here recently, the children were learning through the arts by using dance to learn about that process.
“Do you think you’re ready to use your whole body?” teacher Katie Wright-Sabbatino asked near the start of the lesson, which featured learning through the arts objectives in both science and dance.
Small groups of pupils in this class at Fort Garrison Elementary School brainstormed to come up with dance movements to convey elements of photosynthesis, including water, sunlight, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll. They are leaning through the arts by reaching, flowing, sometimes with surprising grace.
The idea of learning through the arts, including dance, into the broader curriculum is not new, but it appears to be gaining a stronger foothold in public schools, proponents say, though national data are not available.
Erik Robelen is an assistant editor and reporter for Education Week and co-author of the blog Curriculum Matters. His beats include curriculum (arts, humanities, math, science, social studies), textbooks, grading policy, elementary and middle school issues, as well as philanthropy. He also covers learning through the arts.