STEAM, History, & Writing
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, and is the concept of integrating Arts into traditional STEM education. STEAM teaches students to be innovators, recognizing art as a practical skill that can be applied in the STEM field. Design is important in the innovation process, people need to be able to navigate new ideas and products. Presentations need to given in a format that is well considered and designed as well, an unplanned format can be distracting (Jolly, 2014).
"The +a in STE[+a]M integrates arts with STEM education... sparking the interplay between left-brain convergent thinkers and right-brain divergent thinking. In a rapidly changing world, we all must become well-rounded global citizens who have the imagination and skills to conquer new challenges. STEAM is the catalyst for this."- STEAM Connect
Art History is merely a reflection of World History, a series of documents that tracks events, cultural shifts, and ideas. Diego Rivera's mural Pan American Unity reflects this- documenting the relationship between artistry and technology in the United States and Mexico. Rivera's fresco painting represents his vision for the future- the union of Mexican and United States' culture (City College of San Francisco, n.d.). He places his ideas with historical context, outlining the progression of this unity. Even though this mural was painted in the 1940s, Rivera was not wrong. In the decades since, the immigration of Mexicans to the United States has increased dramatically, and the culture has shifted alongside it.
Teaching art alongside reading and writing helps students to be better writers, and to better understand content. In the 2006 study Visual Arts and Writing a Mutually Beneficial Relationship, Trainin, Andrzejczak & Poldberg studied the effects that drawing a picture before writing helped students examine their ideas, and that quantity and quality of writing increased. These achievement gains transferred into improvement in standardized tests in reading and writing as well (2006).