“Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind:
– Study the science of art
– Study the art of science
– Develop your senses, especially learn how to see
– Realize that everything connects to everything else”
Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks (1452-1519)
As da Vinci acknowledges, there is an inherent connection between different academic disciplines. This connection is vital to show the meaningful role of Art in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education. Researchers have documented the numerous positive effects of art on learning. Those benefits range from heightened critical thinking skills, to well-reasoned risk-taking, to more decisive behavior.
Some of the loudest voices in support of the integration of arts education are from researchers in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. They have documented how arts training enhances other cognitive processes. Motivation in the arts translates into high interest and sustained motivation, which are believed to improve cognition.
So why integrate the arts by adding the “A” to STEM education and making it STEAM education?
Adding the “A” benefits students and brings both creativity and experiential learning to their experiences. Imagine creating a scientifically accurate sculpture of a species for a final exam in science class or using a mathematical equation as the inspiration for a film. Students would have an opportunity to see the intersections across different subjects. Additionally, concepts have been shown to stick better with a hands-on approach to learning.
The synergy between art and science is not a new topic, but the momentum for STEAM education (yes, with the “A” for art) has shown us the importance of a holistic approach to education, one that fuels both sides of the brain.
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