Monday, March 5, 2018

STEAM, Arts Integration & PBL In Elementary School ...

I am a huge believer in STEAM and PBL in the art room. I have been, long before I knew there was a name for it. The number one goal, I believe for hiring these days is to look for a person who is proficient in visual thinking and creative problem-solving. What better way to learn these traits then through art education. I mean seriously what art teacher worth their salt has not been teaching problem-solving for years. I give a project students then have to find the most creative way to solve the problem they have been given. What other discipline allows for this type of thinking? 

 The ARTS account for  $704.2 Billion dollars of the US economy according to the National Endowment for the Arts web site. 
Not everyone wants to grow up to be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon. But even if you do happen to become a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon wouldn’t you want the valuable problem-solving skills the arts provide?  Wouldn't you want to be able to think out side the box to solve any issues that might arise in your job? Do you want to have your rocket on the launch pad with a  problem or a patient on the table with a troublesome subdural hematoma and you just standing asking yourself, which bubble did I fill in on that multiple choice scantron test that I took that covered this situation? 
People today need real world skills that allow them to think freely, creatively and effectively to solve problems. We do not need more test takers. 

As art teachers we have always known this. There is no one correct way to solve art and design problems. There are principles and elements you can learn but how you use them is up to the individual artist.
I believe in “art for art sake” more than any other thought or concept out there but I do truly believe STEAM and PBL are a very import part of our tool kits as educators. 

  I have been actively teaching STEAM and PBL for a few years now. I started off  by adding one STEAM or PBL lesson to a couple of grades the first year. Then added in the rest of my grade levels the next year. Last year I made sure to have 2 STEAM or PBL lessons for each class. This year I am working on documenting all the lessons and ideas for my blog. I started of being self taught but then began attending workshops and PD classes in my district. I am also a huge fan of the
I take all their workshops and on-line conferences. This has really helped me with my classroom approach to teaching STEAM and PBL based lessons. I highly recommend this web site!

I do not think STEAM or PBL has to be "just another thing you have to do". I think it is really something you are already doing. With a few minor adjustments I was able to upgrade a lot of my existing art lessons. I have some of my STEAM or PBL lessons on my blog

I start with my own art lesson and then look at the STEAM applications it can have. For example, my second graders were drawing flower vases based on the van Gogh painting "Sunflowers".
I took a fresh new look at this old lesson and changed it up, first by having the class grow their own flowers in clear plastic water bottle.  
Everyone got their own water bottle terrarium. They each had to put the dirt, seeds, water and fertilizer in their bottles.  We waited 2 weeks and now we have sprouts.
Students will first create a drawing of the root system.

After the roots were drawn we painted them with watercolors.

For our next project we took a wire and shaped it like a root then did a texture rub with crayons over the wire using several different colors.

Using our texture rub papers we created a collage flower garden.

The next project was to look inside the plants with a microscope and see what the cells looked like.

From this observation we created our own version of our plants cells.

First students selected 2 colors of watercolor paint. Using a the straw blowing technique they blew out their paint spots. When the paint was dry students filled in the spaces with circles using a ultra fine tipped Sharpie.

Our next project was also about cells.
On transparent sheets using washable markers students created
colored circles.
Then added a few drops of rubbing alcohol onto the circles.

Place a sheet of paper over the colored area and rub.

The kids thought I was a magician!!! 

We then moved on to looking at the work of Georgia O'Keeffe

Click HERE for the steps to this part of the project

Then to bring this project home I now introduce the van Gogh project I use to start with. We discuss the cultivation of Sunflowers and careers related to all aspects of this project as well as the fine arts implications. 
We then go outside and plant our flowers in the school garden thus completing our plant PBL project as a means of mastering an education concept.

This month, The Art Ed Blogger's Network is writing about STEAM/Art Integration. Join us on the first Tuesday each month for new projects, ideas, and inspiration.

Participating Art Teacher Blogs:

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