From STEM to STEAM: Science & Art Go Together in Successful Education

Aug 23, 2012


A strong case for adding the Arts to STEM education
from Steven Ross Pomeroy, assistant editor for Real Clear Science

Scientific American Blog:

From STEM to STEAM: Science and Art Go Hand-in-Hand


"
In the wake of the recent recession, we have been consistently apprised of the pressing need to revitalize funding and education in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering, and math. Doing this, we are told, will spur innovation and put our country back on the road to prosperity

Renewing our focus on STEM is an unobjectionably worthwhile endeavor.  Science and technology are the primary drivers of our world economy, and the United States is in the lead.

But there is a growing group of advocates who believe that STEM is missing a key component – one that is equally deserved of renewed attention, enthusiasm and funding. That component is the Arts. If these advocates have their way, STEM would become STEAM...."

Pomeroy makes his case: "Though many see art and science as somewhat at odds, the fact is that they have long existed and developed collaboratively. This synergy was embodied in great thinkers like the legendary Leonardo Da Vinci and the renowned Chinese polymath Su Song. One of Carl Jung’s mythological archetypes was the artist-scientist, which represents builders, inventors, and dreamers. Nobel laureates in the sciences are seventeen times likelier than the average scientist to be a painter, twelve times as likely to be a poet, and four times as likely to be a musician.

Camouflage for soldiers in the United States armed forces was invented by American painter Abbot Thayer. Earl Bakken based his pacemaker on a musical metronome. Japanese origami inspired medical stents and improvements to vehicle airbag technology. Steve Jobs described himself and his colleagues at Apple as artists.

At TED 2002, Mae Jemison, a doctor, dancer, and the first African American woman in space, said, “The difference between science and the arts is not that they are different sides of the same coin… or even different parts of the same continuum, but rather, they are manifestations of the same thing. The arts and sciences are avatars of human creativity.”

He continues to argue that because of America's arts funding cuts and narrow educational focus
"Young Americans are being educated out of creativity."


Read the full article: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/08/22/from-stem-to-steam-science-and-the-arts-go-hand-in-hand/

Image:  Art meets science in this early star map drawn by Su Song. (public domain)

 

Tags: STEM, arts education

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