STEM through the Arts
STEM through the Arts uses arts-based instruction to excite fourth graders about learning the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math core content. During this 4 week, in-school residency, teaching artists use strategies in drama, dance, music and film/visual art to support student’s understanding and learning of core content. Alongside the core curriculum, students are learning performing arts skills that allow them to express themselves more clearly and to become stronger collaborators.
Curriculum Units Include:
The math focused unit is guided by a dramatic frame where students meet and help residents of a fictional town called Mathville. As it is explained to students on Day 1, Mathville is in trouble. The Mayor, David Division, has decided to make math illegal. Because of this, many residents are unable to do their jobs (jobs that require math). The two Paramount teaching artists step into role as a variety of characters from Mathville including the Mayor’s Assistant, Victor Value, who guides students each day. Throughout the residency students apply real world applications to 4th grade math concepts. Each lesson also connects a specific art form (drama, dance, music, film and visual art) to a math concept. For example, on day 3, students use fractions to write an original song. On day 4, students use angles and measurement to choreograph a new dance. Students use technology throughout the unit when they film the songs and dances they have created using iPads. Each day students are also given a daily clue to help solve the mystery of why the Mayor outlawed math. Students record their observations about the clue in an investigative journal and make daily inferences that they share with their classmates. The unit culminates when they create short films explaining why math is essential, and successfully convince the Mayor to bring back math.
The earth science focused unit is guided by a dramatic frame where students meet Rocky the Rock (played by a puppet) and help him uncover the mystery of how he was formed. A successful Hollywood producer would like to make a film about Rocky’s life story, the problem is Rocky doesn’t know much about where he comes from. Together with Rocky, students go on a journey to learn about 4th grade science concepts such as erosion, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and landslides while creating original films infused with dance and music. By physically embodying a scientific process students develop a deeper understanding of how changes occur in the earth’s surface.
Questions about STEM through the Arts?
Contact: Brian Fahey
Associate Director of Education & Outreach