The potential of arts-integrated STEM approaches to promote students’ science knowledge construction and a positive perception of science learning
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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019. Declining interest among high school and university students in the study of science as a major subject has had educators and curriculum designers searching for a teaching approach that would raise interest and engender a positive perception of learning science. At the same time, government and industry leaders have expressed concern about the need for the science curriculum to produce qualified scientists and engineers capable of creative thinking and innovation. One solution proposed and implemented in some countries is STEAM, the integration of the arts (e.g., visual arts, literature, history) into the teaching of STEM. This chapter presents the theoretical framework, pedagogical approach, and some outcomes of a STEAM project conducted in seven primary and secondary schools in Sydney, Australia, and Seoul, Korea. The project was grounded in a social constructivist theory of learning and applied an inquiry-based pedagogical method, which informed the integration of arts- and culture-related content into science teaching/learning activities. STEAM lessons were designed to build an awareness and appreciation of the relevance and role of science concepts in social-cultural events familiar to students, such as the Vivid Sydney (an annual festival of light) known to every Sydney student and the Light Festival familiar to South Korean students. Some strategies of arts/culture integration and the resulting outcomes are described and illustrated with students’ work. The positive effects of the STEAM approach on teaching, learning, and students’ perception of science are reported. Notwithstanding the positive effects, there are challenges to be addressed in any plan to implement STEAM more widely than as a trial in selected schools. These challenges and concerns are discussed and possible solutions are proposed.
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