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From STEM To STEAM – Adding Art To Your Educational Mix

We often use the phrase; “it’s an art and a science” when describing complex duties we humans perform. Maybe we use that phrase because it best describes the reality; and, if so, then maybe art and science are a lot closer in many human endeavors than we’ve been willing to readily admit. Is this a mistake from academia to separate the two and define them as totally separate tracks and categories?

One thing I have found running a think tank is that those who have superior skills in mathematics often have a taste for music and can play music quite well. Many who are brilliant at physics can too, and even more are hobby artists. Psychology researchers know and understand how robust spatial reasoning is needed to take 3D objects and represent them onto 2D canvas, and these researchers also know that sounds, temp, timing, and even reading music follow patterns just as advanced mathematics will.

Recently I read an interesting post on Creative Thinking titled; “STEAM Lesson Ideas for K-12,” posted on September 22, 2017 by Michelle Korenfeld which stated: “STEAM education is about adding Arts to STEM. What you get is more curiosity, better attitudes and better grades. Here are some ideas: Start with a Zebra and lion painting or poem and direct to vision tricks and three-dimensional eyesight. When a whole herd of zebras run away, the stripes blur the predator’s vision.”

Indeed, well said, and I must say that I definitely agree. Now then, if we look at Fractal Design, it’s all about mathematics, so too are Golden Ratios. Stephen Wolfram has a great book worth perusing titled “A New Type of Science” and one look at the designs within it will immediately link math with art. Further, when we look at nature and consider biomimicry we so so many opportunities there as well; for industrial, robotic, structural, aerospace, marine, space, engineering. It’s all “ONE” and art and science go together – they always have!

Are we missing the boat by not educating young minds with art, music, sculpture and dance? Are we handicapping their minds to find other patterns or understand these patterns when working with advanced mathematics and physics, biology and chemistry, and engineering and design? It appears to me that we are, and I find this observation rather disheartening and a little objectionable. Isn’t it time that we up the game for STEM subjects and STEAM ahead into the future of education? Think on this please.

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