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STEAM Powered Learning

Educating the whole child needs to include the Arts!

Last Thursday, senate approved a rewrite of federal education law. With this new model, the Arts will be taught in schools regularly and will be treated as an essential part of a “well-rounded education”.

This push is part of the STEAM initiative. That is, a belief that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) classes go hand-in-hand with the Arts (STEAM).

At Appel Farm, we’ve always encouraged learning on a variety of levels. Our wet labs teach the chemistry involved in developing film while learners create their own prints. In ceramics, as students are crafting their very own fantastic creatures, vases, and utensils, they’re also learning about how different glazes are affected by heat. Every new experience can be a path to new learning.

Children who play instruments tend have a better sense of time and spacing than children who don’t and also tend to perform better in math subjects. Children who are encouraged in the arts also tend to have more advanced observational skills and are more easily detail oriented. As a result, children who take part in visual arts tend to be able to translate these skills to science classes. Overall, students that are actively encouraged to indulge in the Arts have more advancesd reasoning and perform better in tasks that demand strategic thinking than those who aren’t. Both STEM and the Arts are tools that can uplift and support each other.

The world is seeing a technological revolution like never before. Advances in both machinery and programming are making once giant tasks so simple that children are encouraged to try them. There are so many tools and ideas coming to light in a steady stream that technological thinkers are no longer concerned only with what can be done, but how it can be done.More than ever before, science and technology are actively being used as an avenue for creative expression. As artists, Appel Farm teachers are always looking for new tools and materials to express themselves.

Appel Farm’s commitment to STEAM learning is evident in the brand new LEGO® Robotics and Design class. This innovative lesson was a roaring success in the summer of 2015. Students designed their own robot creation, assembled the parts, and programmed movements according to their own visions, including taking cues from different colored pathways. Both STEM and Art are absolutely essential for completing the entire project, which supports a variety of learning styles.

For years, Appel Farm has offered classes in video production and recording arts. As technology grows, these tools are more accessible and attractive for creative thinkers and learners of all ages. We teach both the STEM aspect of understanding the machinery and editing software as we engage the Arts by sharing framing, color, and performance techniques. Again, we see that both  STEM and Art are necessary to provide a high level of instruction.

Classes that embrace the STEAM mentality support the idea that learning can be effective on a multitude of levels. The power of STEAM classes is in their ability to inspire, engage, and elevate the learning styles of a diverse range of personalities, making both STEM fields and the Arts more accessible to everyone.

Even the late Albert Einstein, world famous theoretical physicist, is quoted as saying “I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin”. He understood that people can be passionate about both science and art without excluding either.

If he can do it, our campers can, too!



Additional sources:
Catterall, James, Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. "Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement In Music and Theatre Arts." Champions of Change. (1999). GE Fund. Web. 18 Nov. 2015
Rabkin, Nick, and Robin Redmond. "The Arts Make A Difference." The Journal of Arts Management, Law, and Society 63.5 (2006): 25-32. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Web. 18 Nov. 2015.