April 7, 2024

2 min read

STEAM Education and Computer Science: How to Connect them

STEAM Education and Computer Science: How to Connect them

Do you know what the Mona Lisa, arguably the most famous painting in the world, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man all have in common? They were created by Leonardo Da Vinci, who was not only one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen but also an inventor and a scientist. Da Vinci’s Renaissance era discoveries were way ahead of his time.

For example, he was responsible for sketching models that could be used as blueprints for helicopters, artilleries, and catapults that came to exist hundreds of years later.

Davinci's famous paintings

You may ask, is it possible for one person to be both an artist and a scientist? Well, yeah. Da Vinci is a prime example of someone who mastered both art and science. He shows exactly that it is possible that art can nurture and complement STEM. When you add "art" to STEM it becomes STEAM. Now let's take a look at the connections between STEAM and computer science and how we can blend them together.

Students in a STEAM Class

Why STEAM Education is so Important?

You've probably heard of STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Just as we already said above for STEAM 'A' stands for Arts - think music, theater, dance, drawing, and painting.

But what's the connection between art and STEM?

Well, STEM subjects use creative processes to observe, interpret, and analyze the world around us. And isn't that what art is all about, too?

STEM is about problem-solving and critical thinking, and it's fair to say those skills involve creativity. To understand how art and creativity can enhance STEM learning, let's hear from Shaun Laqeretabua, a music teacher who also teaches computer science.

How has computer science helped with problem-solving and critical thinking in music, and vice versa?

"Computer science follows strict rules and logic in how things work. I've been able to apply that framework to think through musical ideas, like finding patterns or using an if-then approach to making music. It's also helped me understand the context of songs and other pieces of music better.

One of the lessons I have learned about creativity is that it thrives within some form of structure. With that understanding my musical background has helped me think outside the box. Even within the rules of the written music I know that there are hundreds of ways I can express those elements of music. The same can be said for computer science. There are foundational rules that music and computers must abide by and it works, but the real beauty of either discipline comes from the interpretation of those rules and how individuals find their own unique function within those boundaries.”

According to Shaun, frameworks and rules actually aid in creativity. Just like there are hundreds of ways to compose elements of music, there are hundreds of ways to investigate and solve problems within STEM.

So, why is STEAM important?

Integrating art into STEM acknowledges the fact that creativity is necessary to be successful throughout the field. To help you make this connection with your students, we laid out some STEAM education resources in the next section.

(Students engaging in different Art-related activities (painting, playing music etc)

Examples of how STEAM Education Benefits Students

For Shaun who is a music teacher at C.S. Lewis Academy in Utah in the United States, problem-solving is a crucial link between STEM and art. According to him:

“One of the biggest connections I've noticed is learning through trial and error. Whether it's mastering a new song or composing, sometimes things click, and other times they don't. But every challenge is an opportunity to find a solution. Sometimes it's a small tweak, other times it requires a completely fresh approach.”

Art encourages students to think creatively and consider different perspectives when tackling problems, which is fundamental to STEM fields. Here are some examples of STEAM activities that you can bring into your classroom to blend art seamlessly with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics:

  • Incorporate movement: Try an activity like Lunar Loops, where students create their own code using loops. They then act out their code using their bodies, integrating movement with coding. This allows them to express their creativity while delving into the realms of science and technology.
  • Create visuals: Engage students in projects like Old Computers, New Problems, where they learn about e-waste and brainstorm solutions. They can then design eye-catching flyers or brochures to raise awareness and propose ideas for tackling the e-waste issue in their communities. This activity combines artistry with environmental awareness and problem-solving.
  • Design a product: Explore the world of 3D printing with an activity like 3D Printing Industry. Students can learn about careers in the 3D printing field and then put their skills to the test by designing and evaluating a product that meets specific customer requirements. This hands-on project allows students to apply their creativity and technical knowledge to real-world challenges.

As art is integrated into the domains of STEM, consider the uses of STEAM in daily life and real-life problems that students will encounter. In the scientific creativity test used in the studies above, students were tasked with responding to a problem such as, “Think of as many possible improvements as you can to a regular bicycle, making it more interesting, more useful, and more beautiful.” When students are empowered with the skills they gain from art, it’s no surprise when they come up with extraordinary, scientific results. So when you ask yourself, “Why is STEAM education important,” remember the countless doors that can be opened for student success in life.

Connecting STEAM Education and Computer Science Curriculum

STREE Education has helped schools worldwide implement comprehensive and sustainable STEAM programs that are student-centered, industry-aligned, and academically robust. As part of the program, art and creativity are incorporated into computer science lessons. Students are given the opportunitiesto integrate the A in STEAM throughout the program.

What is Stree Education?

Stree Education is a dedicated tech education provider in Dubai, UAE. We partner with international education providers to bring these opportunities to the children of the Middle East. Learn more about our approach here."





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