STEM Integration with Art: A Renewed Reason for STEAM
thesisposted on 01.01.2015, 00:00 by Christina Maria-Ann Belardo
For many years, the arts and sciences have been taught in separate silos. However, with the current move in the United States to see its K-12 students perform at the top of the world in STEM disciplines, the arts are being pushed out of the classroom and marginalized in the curriculum. In addition to the limited availability of the arts being taught in schools, there has been a debate that the arts and STEM fields are disconnected from each other. This research bridges a gap in the literature that the arts and sciences are similar in many ways and indicates how STEM can become STEAM in the classroom. A case study of secondary pre-service teachers (n=58) participating in a Science and Art-integration unit, explored how a silk batik art activity could capture scientific and artistic concepts in the same unit over 5 university class sessions for a three-year time period. The research under study aims to answer the follow research questions: 1) how have the secondary pre-service teachers' perspectives about this Science and Art-integration unit changed over a three-year period; and 2) how has the silk batik activity influenced pre-service teachers' perspectives of science and art in their future classroom? This study used a mixed methods research approach gathering changes in confidence in knowledge, skills, experiences, and perceptions of science and art. Quantitative and qualitative data are presented that support increased awareness and confidence in pre-service teachers' perceptions of how science and art can be incorporated into the same classroom, recognition of similarities between the two disciplines, and common themes that are significant in teaching science and art disciplines together. Evidence from the research suggest that the Science and Art-integration unit not only serves to promote appreciation and learning for each discipline, but also helps to develop skills and creative perspectives needed beyond the classroom in STEM and other careers.