The world has changed dramatically since the National Science Foundation coined the term STEM in 2001 (though they originally called it SMET). We are light years ahead of 2001 where dial-up modems were all the rage! With STEM back then, content was king and there was a critical need in our industries for content area expertise. Without a content expert on staff, companies had no fast and easy way to gain information which slowed innovation. Nowadays, the internet and split-second access to information have changed the needs of industry and what STEM means to society. STEM has metamorphized into a culture, a way to look at the world and prepare students for a future we can’t even imagine. The Arts are key to our students and the future economic success of our country. Innovation is an iteration of creativity and critical thinking. The Arts not only provide the opportunity to build these skills but also provide a unique and powerful voice that is needed to impact the world. The Arts provide other content areas an opportunity to be relevant and powerful. The Arts tug on emotions and help us all connect to each other. STEM culture without the Arts is like a chef without ingredients. They may have the knowledge, but without a way to present the information in a way that appeals to society, people don’t seem to care. The resources below can help students (and teachers) see how the Arts are a critical piece of STEM and help build the skills needed to connect to the world, and the future.
Ignite My Future
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, by 2020, there will be 1 million more computer science-related jobs than graduating students qualified to fill them. A critical misconception in education is that computer science is the same as coding. Coding is one piece of the computer science world, and we often forget computational thinking. Ignite My Future in School provides a comprehensive set of resources seamlessly integrating the principles of computational thinking across the curriculum. The skills used in computational thinking (as well as in coding) are directly related to the skills used in the Arts. Recognizing and developing patterns, creatively solving problems, and expressing ideas in alternative ways to connect to the world.
Check out this STEMtastic standards-based lesson connecting computational thinking, STEM careers, and music: http://bit.ly/DropBeat
Explore additional ways to tie computational thinking into content with a growing back of lesson resources at: https://www.ignitemyfutureinschool.org
STEM Career Challenges
Whether as a nature photographer or a video game artist/animator, careers are a great way to connect content, the arts, and the real world! Many, if not most, STEM careers use some form of the Arts in how they accomplish their goals. Photographs are used in every arena of our everyday life, from billboards to pop-up ads on our smartphones. Video games utilize artists, animators, and audio engineers to make games aesthetically pleasing. Showing students that the Arts can be a big part of their career paths, especially when tied across content. Instead of those Random Acts of STEM challenges, engage students in a STEM Career challenge utilizing the Arts in the career or to express their understandings! Below are two challenges to get you and your students thinking this month!
Nature Photographer Challenge: http://bit.ly/PhotoSTEM
Video Game Artist/Animator Challenge: http://bit.ly/VGArtist
***Here is bonus challenge for the holidays! Have your students become shipping logisticians and figure out the best ways to get those online orders to patrons across the country: http://bit.ly/Logistician
Instructables is a social resource site created by a group from MIT built to connect the skills in the Arts and in tinkering with Makerspace ideas for every content and topic. In education, we often try to turn makerspaces into science labs; however, there is so much more to the idea of “Making” than just science. Sewing, welding, cooking, hardware-software & app development, all go hand-in-hand with the Design Process in MakedEd. Instructables provide project ideas for all these realms of making. The most STEMciting part of Instructables though is that they offer free online classes to teach these STEAM skills so that students or educators don’t have to let a lack of “knowing how” stand in the way of curiosity and inspiration.
Check out their projects and ideas; or learn a new skill here: http://bit.ly/instructablesArts
If you follow and take part in our #DESTEMChat every month, you will remember in October we discussed the Arts & Makerspaces in schools and instruction. Dr. Jacie Maslyk shared some powerful ideas and resources with the group on how to effectively build instruction around utilizing the ideals of MakerEd as well as giving students a voice through the Arts. Dr. Maslyk also hosts her own monthly twitter chat called #STEAMMakerChat. The first Monday of every month, join the conversation and gain new ideas, resources, and professional connections to enhance your own innovative practices!
The next chat is January 8th, 2018 (I know it’s not the first Monday of the month, but it has been moved in light of New Year’s Day being the 1st Monday) at 7pm EST! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/STEAMMaker
*You can catch the next #DESTEMChat on December 27th at 8pm EST as we welcome Olenka Cullinan to chat with us about students as entrepreneurs! How do I take part in a #DESTEMChat: http://bit.ly/2q3X9eo
Dr. Lodge McCammon’s popular 1-Take Paperslide Video strategy: The “hit record, present your material, then hit stop – and your product is done” style of video creation is something that any teacher or student can start using tomorrow in order to create, share and reflect on content. Creating digital media is a great way to give students a voice, and with Paperslides it doesn’t have to be complicated! Not only are students presenting their content in an innovative way, but they are using the Arts (drawing, dancing, design, etc…) to capture (and keep) the attention of others while sharing information; something that most careers have to accomplish.
Check out the Paperslide Video tutorials and an example of how they are used in classrooms here: http://bit.ly/PaperSlide
Want to share this with colleagues? Check out and share our Infographic below!