Arts Integration and STEM Come to Life

By: Jackie Gibbs

Integrating arts into the classroom contributes to STEM and the 21st Century learning emphasizing collaboration, creativity, imagination and communication. With the recent transition to the reconstructed, original school building, the goal of STEM and integrating arts has become more possible at Linden-McKinley due to the upgrade in technology and resources available.

Arts and sports are critical links to children’s educational lives. Art helps the individual to live a more meaningful life through the opportunity to express oneself. In fact, whether it be visible or not, multiple skill sets are addressed when art is incorporated into the classroom. There are many positive results that occur when art is present within the curriculum. For example, art is vital for higher engagement, cognitive functioning, capacity of recollection, the opportunity to express individuality and most importantly to have fun while learning.

Integrating art across curriculum brings originality into the classroom and eliminates the monotony of “classroom work”. I have noticed an exceptional difference in the participation and willingness to quiet down in any art or physical related class as opposed to traditional classes. The engagement culminated is phenomenal and shows that students are more eager to demonstrate an understanding in material they find interest in.

Something I have come to realize is the overall talent that the students at Linden-McKinley posses. I can’t keep track of the numerous drawings in sketchbooks and written poems that students have shown me, or the melodious voices from the students singing and the band playing. With so much talent and creativity to be shared, Arts integrated into the classroom is what Linden needs to expose the sheltered talent among our students.

Arts integration also plays a large role in student engagement. Because art can be displayed and usually follows with a form of recognition, performance assessments enhance student engagement while providing the chance to solve multiple problems. This semester I have transitioned from a 9th grade English class into a 9th grade Math/Science class, which is taught by two teachers who have taken on the challenge of covering content standards through hands-on group projects. The first assignment delegated to my students this semester is a Rollercoaster Project, which consists of three components: marketing, design, and a scientific poster. Working in various groups of six, the students have become immersed in a competition against three other schools, one of them being from China, which will require in-depth research, collaboration, creativity and determination. Just as much as Science and Math are incorporated in the project as a whole, so are the elements of hands on, creativity, and teamwork.

While behavioral issues put a damper on the bliss of brand new resources and fresh teaching ideas, I admire the attempt to execute a new way of learning and watch patiently at the signs of change as the evolution of arts and STEM takes over the classroom.  The intellects of the students today are what will shape the future for us tomorrow.


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