Updated: Apr 26
STEAM education is about adding Arts to STEM. What you get is more curiosity, better attitudes and better grades. Here are some ideas:
· Start with a peacock painting or poem and direct to a conversation about symmetry. The” eye” of the feather has mirror symmetry. There are other sorts like reflection and translation symmetry. Symmetry plays a role in courting. The female chooses the male with the most symmetric and iridescent feathers. This leads to talking about structural coloration. It’s all about communication in the animal world; the tail handicaps the peacock, but it sends the signal of being the strongest male.
· Start with a Zebra and lion painting or poem and direct to vision tricks and three-dimensional eyesight. When a whole herd of zebras run away, the stripes blur the predator’s vision.
· Start with a painting of a rainbow and direct to talking about the spectrum of colors. Ultraviolet is visible to bees and butterflies, infra-red is visible to snakes. Use rainbow glasses and an up-side-down disc to talk about refraction versus reflection.
· Start with a painting or a poem of a parrot and direct to camouflage colors. It is difficult to imagine that the parrots’ colors are camouflage colors. Yet parrots come from the rain forest, a very colorful environment.
· Start with a painting with red and green - the colors of Christmas. Those are complementing colors in art. They contradict yet complement each other, creating a powerful effect. Talk about a painter using colors to create effects. For example, bright colors convey that the object is light, and dark colors convey that the object is heavy. From that direct to a conversation about how light and heavy are relative concepts.
· Start with literature or art about trees and birds to teach about continuity in nature. We all know birds need trees. But trees need birds, too. They pollinate and they help with dispersing seeds.
· Start with art about the Northern lights and talk about Earth’s magnetic field. One of my Aurora Borealis paintings is decorating this post.
I lead workshops with such interdisciplinary materials through K-12. Curiosity to discover about the world is typical to all ages. And no, I am not a scientist. Our role is to make students curious about it, so science lessons will be more meaningful.
I am an artist, poet and author that researches deeply about the science behind her subjects before creating. That way the arts delivers the splendor of nature. We want students not only to learn about nature and science, but also to connect with them.
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