Wednesday, November 8 is National STEM Day and serves as a good reminder that STEM is part of all subject areas, not a separate subject or course. .
If you are teaching Music you are teaching STEM. If you are teaching Art you are teaching STEM. If you are teaching Language Arts you are teaching STEM. You get the idea. STEM occurs everywhere all the time making all subject areas tools for teaching STEM. The brilliance is it occurs organically, seamlessly, integrating within all discipline. The STEM movement was never meant to make the statement that STEM skills were more important than others, or be taught as a separate subject. Rather the intent was and is a call to notice, embrace, and encourage how STEM skills are integral no matter what you do, no matter what career you choose.
Art: From Patterns,Tessellations, Geometric Shapes to Fibonacci Sequence art is naturally filled with STEM Concepts. The Kennedy Center articulates so well how the Arts teach STEM, “look at your content standards. You may be surprised to see how the arts and sciences standards connect with each other. Arts and sciences concepts and vocabulary often overlap. For example, reading music involves fractions and theater set design requires measurement, geometric shapes, and spatial reasoning.” UC Davis student Fiona Rose Beyerle asks Art vs STEM why choose just one? and proceeds to describe the interrelationship she has found as a college student. Art teaches STEM organically.
Music: By it’s very nature, Music can’t happen without Math. Starting with time signatures and note values. “The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz launched Math, Science & Music in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education as an initiative that uses music as a tool to teach math and science to young people in public and private schools around the world”. Be sure to check out this website which provides great examples of how STEM concepts are taught through music.
Language Arts: Language Arts naturally teaches STEM. Good writing skills, especially writing clear and concise directions and descriptions provides a great example of Language Arts teaching STEM. Grace Hopper, a leader in revolutionizing computer programming, would have her students write an English paper as their first assignment. Students would voice their displeasure, they were there to learn programming. Hopper knew the importance of communicating precisely and the assignment demonstrated how important writing and communication were to programming.
No matter what you teach, it is there. The examples above illustrate that all subject areas teach STEM. I have always said and still believe there is no need to purchase a fancy STEM curriculum but rather , “Find the STEM in your curriculum, not the curriculum for STEM”.
Staab, J. (2021a, March 19). Art vs. STEM: Why choose just one? UC Davis. https://www.ucdavis.edu/admissions/blog/choosing-arts-or-stem-major
MathScienceMusic. (n.d.). MathMusicScience. Retrieved November 5, 2023, from https://mathsciencemusic.org/#/project/about-math-science-music