WR STEAM Studio Combines Art and STEM in One Learning Experience
Posted on 10/17/2016
Western Row Elementary School students are combining their art skills with the innovative field of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The third graders' new STEAM Studio experience was the brainchild of art teacher Kerry Kronenberger, who realized that by combining science and art components, students can become better problem-solvers and learn perseverance.
“Too many times students are focused on only finding the right answer, and just getting to that specific answer. They don’t think about how they can be correct even if the answer isn’t,” states Kronenberger.
The $6,361 STEAM studio grant was funded by the Mason Schools Foundation for the 2016-2017 school year. The STEAM Studio creates a ‘Makerspace-type studio’ within Western Row. “A ‘Makerspace’ provides hands-on, creative ways to encourage students to design, experiment, build and invent as they engage in science, engineering and tinkering,” explains Kronenberger.
Students attend the STEAM Studio once a week and the class is taught by a Kronenberger and STEM lab teacher, Karen Vome. Students receive small challenges such as building skyscrapers, designing cars, and working with circuits. Four times a year, the students will work on larger challenges that may take several weeks to complete. One of these challenges is the Global Cardboard Challenge - where students will build something amazing out of cardboard, recycled materials and imagination.
STEM related fields, such as Engineering and Information Technology, are currently among the highest paid majors for college graduates. The job outlook for these fields is projected to increase, and a whopping nine million jobs are expected to be added between the years 2012 to 2022.
“Not only does STEAM help them improve their scientific and artistic skills, it also teaches innovation. This program lets a child know that it’s OK to be wrong, which is important to recognize early on in learning,” added Kronenberger.
Students have been enjoying using the elements of artwork and science in the same classroom, and agree that incorporating science and art together will be beneficial for them in the future.
“It is always important to know that there is no age range for innovation and ingenuity, as these kids have demonstrated!” said Kronenberger.