A Place for Art and Design Education in the STEM Conversation

 James W. Bequette & Marjorie Bullitt Bequette 

Art Education, 65 (2), 40-47,  Published online: 24 Nov 2015

The recent push for STEM education introduces (through the emphasis on engineering) a design process to science classrooms; some educators also pushed for the artistic or creative process becoming a part of STEM education. In certain cases, this might be an opportunity for greater prominence for art education, better art and STEM learning, and heightened student engagement; in others it might weaken each discipline and confuse the boundaries between different approaches. In what follows, we describe the possibilities and pitfalls of an approach that infuses both the creative process and design thinking into a new iteration of STEM education that adds arts (with a capital “A”) to the acronym to make STEAM.

The Conductor-less Orchestra

Harvey Seifter


Leader to Leader, No.21, Summer 2001


APPING into the unique skills of knowledge workers requires
leaders to adopt new ways of thinking and to apply new models of
organization to the workplace. According to Harvard business
professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter in Executive Excellence, “Your
structures should be very loose and very flexible: less hierarchy,
more opportunity for people to play many different roles.
Sometimes you may be a team leader, and at other times you may
be a team member. Also, be very flexible with respect to titles, and
very fluid in terms of moving people from project to project,
depending on the requirements. And be very project oriented,
rather than fixed-job oriented.”
Knowledge workers are not limited to the world of high-tech, New
Economy business. They are found in every industry and every
business and, as Peter Drucker has pointed out, in some surprising
places — including symphony orchestras. And one orchestra in
particular — New York City-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra —
has become a model for Kanter’s new kind of loose and flexible organization.




The Impact of Arts-Based Innovation Training on the Creative Thinking Skills, Collaborative Behaviors and Innovation Outcomes of Adolescents and Adults

Kate Haley Goldman, Steven Yalowitz, & Erin Wilcox


August 3, 2016


The Art of Science Learning Project (AoSL) is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded initiative, founded and directed by Harvey Seifter, that uses the arts to spark creativity in science education and the development of an innovative 21st Century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) workforce.



Transforming Teaching through Arts Integration

Transforming Teaching through Arts Integration: AI Implementation Results: Middle School Reform through Effective Arts Integration Professional Development
Snyder, Lori; Klos, Patricial; Grey-Hawkins, Lauren
Journal for Learning through the Arts, v10   n1   2014
In four years, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) increased sixth and seventh grade student achievement on the Maryland State Assessment (MSA) by 20% at Bates Middle School, a low performing school that had been targeted for restructuring by the state. This improvement positively correlates with the implementation of the arts integration Supporting Arts Integrated Learning for Student Success (SAILSS) model funded through the Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination (AEMDD) grant. This model, offered to teachers across all content areas, incorporates extensive professional development opportunities including: an intensive weeklong workshop for teachers with artists followed by a two-week teaching lab with students; participation in an cohort to achieve an arts integration post-baccalaureate certificate; and extensive trainings, conferences and workshops at local, regional, and national schools, museums, arts institutes, and higher education facilities. Qualitative and quantitative data collected by AACPS was assessed through a quasi-experimental design from the treatment and comparison schools utilizing the following instrumentation: state and local standardized testing, School-level Environment Questionnaire (SLEQ), Arts Integration: Classroom Observations for Middle Schools (AICOM), arts integration logs and parent, student, and teacher surveys. Through this study we found that in addition to increasing student achievement on statewide assessments, implementing this arts integration model positively correlates with a 77% decline in discipline referrals, and overall positive change in school climate based on teacher, staff, student, and parent perception.

Earth View, Art View

Lydia Dambekalns


The Science Teacher, January 2005


This fascinating interdisciplinary project combines satellite imagery with the technique of silk painting in batik. Students choose a Landsat image, enlarge the area of interest, and paint it onto silk. To assess the project, teachers can discuss both the content of what students portrayed in terms of scientific inquiry, observation, accuracy, and interpretation and the artistic style they employed in terms of painting technique, observation, and use of elements and principles of design.



STEAM by another name: Transdisciplinary practice in art and design education

Tracie Constantino


The recent movement to include art and design in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education has made Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) an increasingly common acronym in the education lexicon. The STEAM movement builds on existing models of interdisciplinary curriculum, but what makes the union of art and design with the STEM disciplines so persuasive? In this article, I draw from research on interdisciplinary curricular projects that fit into the category of STEAM, but may also be considered inquiries into the role of art and design in the creative inquiry process, in order to sketch a transdisciplinary curriculum model that may be applied across disciplines.



Integrating Arts and Science

Kathryn Green, Kathy Cabe Trundle and Maria Shaheen

ESERA (European Science Education Research Association) 2017 Conference

Dublin City University, Dublin, Ireland

August 21-25, 2017

One way to enhance young learners’ natural propensity for wonder and interest in science is to integrate arts into science learning. Combining arts with science builds on children’s interests in nature while allowing them the joy and pleasure of artistic expression. Although educators often discuss integrating the arts into science learning, empirical support is relatively recent (Gullatt, 2008). This study synthesizes previous empirical studies and theoretical literature published in peer-reviewed journals on arts integration, how the arts are integrated into science teaching, and the efficacy of arts integration for science learning. Major findings include that arts integration is associated with academic gains, a more positive school climate, an increase in teacher camaraderie, collaboration, and confidence. This literature review also revealed that time and training are the biggest logistical obstacles to a successful arts integration program. In addition, teachers’ beliefs about the relationship between science and the arts may need to be adjusted in order to allow for successful arts integration implementation. The findings from this literature review clearly call for additional and more rigorous empirical research, especially of a quantitative nature, that focuses on the integration of arts into science teaching and learning. Additional future directions suggested by this literature review include more research on how training can be effectively implemented in pre-service teaching programs and how arts integration influences learning in specific populations such as English Language Learners.


‘‘Finding the Joy in the Unknown’’: Implementation of STEAM Teaching Practices in Middle School Science and Math Classrooms

Quigley, C. F. & Herro, D.

Journal of Science Education and Technology, (2016) 25, 410-426


In response to a desire to strengthen the economy, educational settings are emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curriculum and programs. Yet, because of the narrow approach to STEM, educational leaders continue to call for a more balanced approach to teaching and learning, which includes the arts, design, and humanities. This desire created space for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) education, a transdisciplinary approach that focuses on problem-solving. STEAM-based curricula and STEAM-themed schools are appearing all over the globe. This growing national and global attention to STEAM provides an opportunity for teacher education to explore the ways in which teachers implement STEAM practices, examining the successes and challenges, and how teachers are beginning to make sense of this innovative teaching practice. The purpose of this paper is to examine the implementation of STEAM teaching practices in science and math middle school classrooms, in hopes to provide research-based evidence on this emerging topic to guide teacher education.

The Art-Science Connection

Hegedus, T., Segarra, V. A., Allen, T. G., Wilson, H., Garr, C., & Budzinski, C.

The Science Teacher, (2016) 83, 25-31.


We developed an integrated science-and-art program to engage science students from a performing arts high school in hands-on, inquiry-based lab experiences. The students participated in eight biology-focused investigations at a local university with undergraduate mentors. After the laboratory phase of the project, the high school students were charged with generating ideas and producing original science-inspired art to strengthen their science communication skills and comprehension. A culminating exhibit allowed the students artists to share their scientific insights.