Full STEAM Ahead: Creativity in Excellent STEM Teaching Practices

Danah Henriksen (2014)  The STEAM Journal Vol. 1, Issue 2


This article emphasizes the value of creativity and arts-based learning in the sciences (STEAM education), using one example from a recent research study of creative and effective classroom teachers. The future of innovative thinking in STEM disciplines relies on breaking down the distinction between disciplines traditionally seen as “creative” like the arts or music, and STEM disciplines traditionally seen as more rigid or logical-mathematical (Catterall, 2002). The most exceptional thinkers in fields like science or math are also highly creative individuals who are deeply influenced by an interest in, and knowledge of, music, the arts and similar areas (Caper, 1996; Root-Bernstein, 2003; Dail, 2013; Eger, 2013). In light of this, STEAM must become an essential paradigm for creative and artistically infused teaching and learning in the sciences. I recently conducted a study of creative teaching practices among highly effective teachers (winners/finalists of the National Teacher of the Year program). This article looks at a single case drawn from this study, and considers the arts-based science teaching/learning employed by one of these teachers, Michael Geisen, the 2008 National Teacher of the Year award winner, and a middle school science teacher.