What difference does art make in science? A comparative study of meaning-making at elementary school

Jakobson, B & Wickman, P.


Interchange, 46(4), 323-343 (2015).


Here we examine the role art activities play in aesthetic experience and learning of science. We compare recordings of two sequential occurrences in an elementary school class. The purpose of the first sequence was scientific and involved the children in observing leaves with magnifiers. The second sequence had an artistic purpose, where the children made pictures of leaves by rubbing them with crayons. The material was analyzed by means of practical epistemology analysis, Dewey’s philosophy of aesthetics and socio-cultural approaches using the concept of mediation. The results show that what was mediated in the two sequences differed; the mediating artefacts used thereby having an effect on learning. The children also learned how to take part in the activities aesthetically. What the results mean for the use of artistic activities in science education is discussed.




The Integration of Creative Drama in an Inquiry-based Elementary Program: The Effect on Student Attitude and Conceptual Learning

Hendrix, R. Eick, C. & Shannon, D.

Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23, 823-846, 2012.


Creative drama activities designed to help children learn difficult science concepts were integrated into an inquiry-based elementary science program. Children (n = 38) in an upper elementary enrichment program at one primary school were the participants in this action research. The teacher-researcher taught students the Full Option Science System™ (FOSS) modules of sound (fourth grade) and solar energy (fifth grade) with the integration of creative drama activities in treatment classes. A 2 × 2 × (2) Mixed ANOVA was used to examine differences in the learning outcomes and attitudes toward science between groups (drama and non-drama) and grade levels (4th and 5th grades) over time (pre/post). Learning was measured using the tests included with the FOSS modules. A shortened version of the Three Dimension Elementary Science Attitude Survey measured attitudes toward science. Students in the drama treatment group had significantly higher learning gains (F = 160.2, p < 0.001) than students in the non-drama control group with students in grade four reporting significantly greater learning outcomes (F = 14.3, p < 0.001) than grade five. There was a significantly statistical decrease in student attitudes toward science (F = 7.5, p < 0.01), though a small change. Creative drama was an effective strategy to increase science conceptual learning in this group of diverse elementary enrichment students when used as an active extension to the pre-existing inquiry-based science curriculum.




Rocking Your Writing Program: Integration of Visual Art, Language Arts, & Science

Poldberg, M.M., Trainin, G. & Andrzejczak, N.


Journal for Learning Through the Arts, 9 (1)  2013


This paper explores the integration of art, literacy and science in a second grade classroom, showing how an integrative approach has a positive and lasting influence on student achievement in art, literacy, and science. Ways in which art, science, language arts, and cognition intersect are reviewed. Sample artifacts are presented along with their analysis to show how students learn in an integrated unit that incorporates visual art as a key component. While we recognize the importance of art as a unique domain, this research demonstrates how integration of visual art, literacy, and science content creates an effective curriculum benefiting all students.





An emerging role for design methods in transdisciplinary practice

G. Mauricio Mejía, Cassini Nazir, Roger F. Malina, Alex García Topete, Felipe C. Londoño,Andrés F. Roldán, Priscila L. Farias, João Silveira.


This paper is a follow up to some of the authors’ ISEA 2017 paper “Towards an inventory of good practices for transdisciplinary collaboration.” A key issue identified there was how to develop training methods for teams that bridge very different research, development and assessment methodologies. In this paper, we propose design methods to improve transdisciplinary collaborations, with a particular discussion on the emerging community of practice that seeks to enable art-science collaboration. An ISEA workshop is
also proposed to make explicit the methodologies described.




The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education: Branches from the Same Tree

The National Academies Press (2018)

In the United States, broad study in an array of different disciplines —arts, humanities, science, mathematics, engineering— as well as an in-depth study within a special area of interest, have been defining characteristics of a higher education. But over time, in-depth study in a major discipline has come to dominate the curricula at many institutions. This evolution of the curriculum has been driven, in part, by increasing specialization in the academic disciplines. There is little doubt that disciplinary specialization has helped produce many of the achievement of the past century. Researchers in all academic disciplines have been able to delve more deeply into their areas of expertise, grappling with ever more specialized and fundamental problems.

Yet today, many leaders, scholars, parents, and students are asking whether higher education has moved too far from its integrative tradition towards an approach heavily rooted in disciplinary “silos”. These “silos” represent what many see as an artificial separation of academic disciplines. This study reflects a growing concern that the approach to higher education that favors disciplinary specialization is poorly calibrated to the challenges and opportunities of our time.

The Integration of the Humanities and Arts with Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Higher Education examines the evidence behind the assertion that educational programs that mutually integrate learning experiences in the humanities and arts with science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) lead to improved educational and career outcomes for undergraduate and graduate students. It explores evidence regarding the value of integrating more STEMM curricula and labs into the academic programs of students majoring in the humanities and arts and evidence regarding the value of integrating curricula and experiences in the arts and humanities into college and university STEMM education programs.


Art and Medicine at The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History at UT Dallas

Research, resources, and course that cultivate connections between art history and medical education.

Embracing a more humanistic understanding of health and well-being is part of a new movement to improve physicians’ clinical training. By developing observation, critical thinking and communication skills, medical students relate these to diagnostic practices and their work with patients.




Writing and Drawing in the Naturalist’s Journal

Dirnberger, J. M, McCullagh, S., & Howick, T.

The Science Teacher, (2005), 72 (1), 38-42.


The mutually reinforcing integration of science and art is clearly seen in the journals and notebooks kept by creative thinkers and explorers since the time of Leonardo da Vinci. The Naturalist’s Journal is an effective tool for learning about nature and science and can be an effective teaching strategy.





Creative Little Scientists: Exploring Pedagogical Synergies between Inquiry-based and Creative Approaches in Early Years Science

Cremin, T., Glauert, E., Craft, A., Compton, A., & Stylianidou, F.

Education 3-13, 2015, Vol. 43(4), p.404-419.


In the light of the European Union’s interest in creativity and innovation, this paper, drawing on data from the EU project Creative Little Scientists (2011–2014), explores the teaching and learning of science and creativity in Early Years education. The project’s conceptual framework, developed from detailed analysis of relevant literature, highlighted the potential existence of a number of pedagogical synergies between inquiry-based science and creativity-based approaches in Early Years education. The science and creativity literature reviews were thus re-examined to identify synergistic features of teaching and learning in the Early Years. These were seen to include: play and exploration, motivation and affect, dialogue and collaboration, problem-solving and agency, questioning and curiosity, reflection and reasoning, and teacher scaffolding and involvement. Field work undertaken over a 4-month-period in 48 sites across the 9 partner countries provided the opportunity to examine the existence of these synergies in Early Years settings and primary classrooms with learners aged 3–8 years. Qualitative in nature, the fieldwork was framed by a case study strategy encompassing multiple methods of data collection: sequential digital images capturing interactions; observations supplemented by audio recording; timelines; and interviews with teachers and groups of children. The data set comprised 71 cases in early science (and mathematics), with 3 episodes of activity per case encapsulating creativity in these domains, resulting in 218 episodes for analysis. A deductive–inductive analytical approach was undertaken in two phases with cross-case analysis both within and between countries. The paper exemplifies the pedagogical synergies innovatively identified in the conceptual framework and documented in the fieldwork, and highlights the potential for creativity in exploratory science contexts. Additionally, it highlights differences between practice observed in preschool and primary settings and advances a new conceptual definition of creativity within Early Years science education.

Integrating the Arts: Educational Entrepreneurship in a School Setting

Bresler, L. (2011)  Hellenic Journal of Music, Education and Culture, 2(1), 5-17


What qualities make for successful integration of the arts and the so-called core curriculum? Clearly, integration requires more than scheduling changes, and results in substantial learning well beyond drawing snowflakes in science or singing patriotic songs in social studies. This paper presents one case of arts integration in a Texan high school, where the project coordinator was the music teacher. I examine those qualities that made it a successful integration, including the curriculum, the institutional structures, and some of the characteristics and background of the project coordinator. Based on this and other cases of successful integration of the arts into the academic curriculum (and as important, cases where such integration failed despite seemingly promising conditions), I identify some characteristics that are important to arts integration. These characteristics include: (i) going beyond the traditional disciplinary knowledge to creatively reflect ownership and personal commitments; (ii) being able to listen to others and to collaborate in what I refer to as transformative practice zone (TZP); and (iii) perseverance in a process of experiential learning of the innovation. These characteristics, I suggest, constitute educational entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on the social and the intellectual.