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.




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.

New Visuality in Art/Science: A Pedagogy of Connection for Cognitive Growth and Creativity

Kathryn Grushka, Alice Hope, Neville Clement, Miranda Lawry, and Andy Devine


Peabody Journal of Education, 2018, 93(3), 320-331


New visuality in art/science pedagogies challenges teachers to rethink their curriculum and the role of digital new media in facilitating conceptual thinking and the role of the creative representation of knowledge. Recent neuroscientific research on cognition, perception, memory, and emotion inform and provoke implications for 21st-century learning. Analysis of student artwork uncovers pedagogical challenges for teachers. Teachers use visual learning and its forms of higher process thinking to allow students to make cognitive connections with images, giving them the capacity to integrate concepts for the communication of art/science learning. Examples of student learning from years 3–5 and 15–17 illustrate these ideas.



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.



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.


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.