Art science: The role of art and design in science

Art science and the role that art and design play in science are cross-disciplinary in learning.

With today’s use of technology, all one needs to do is be observant of computer games, cell phone features, iPod applications and more to see art science. The computer hardware and software combined with the technical expertise “science” with the game, screen design creations “art” equals art science; being cross-disciplinary learning environments. In a collaborative learning space for science educators, an article by Robin McGuire stated how art and science go hand in hand.

Texas A&M College of Architecture associate professor of visualization, Carol LaFayette is a leader by advancing the STEM to STEAM movement by adding the art and design components. The Michigan STEM Vital Signs: Change the Equation (2011) stated that the future of Michigan depends on its ability to boost student performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Educators are currently taking the STEM subjects now and adding art and design to transform the economy in the 21st century:


STEAM is a movement being widely adopted by institutions, corporations and individuals. The objectives of the STEM to STEAM movement are stated to:

  • Transform research policy to place “Art + Design” at the center of STEM
  • Encourage integration of “Art + Design” in kindergarten through twelfth grade education
  • Influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation

The National Science Foundation has funded educational initiatives aimed at enriching the role of art in science and vice-versa. Furthermore; the national Network for Sciences, Engineering, Arts & Design (SEAD) has pursued an active research and outreach in developing strategies that promote the integration of art and design in technical education. The National Science Teachers Association (NASTA) is reaching students through STEM and the Arts.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H science and technology and 4-H visual arts youth development programming offer many educational opportunities that can be combined in relation to STEAM. Watch for art science sessions being offered in fall 2013 at the Kettunen Center 4-H Visual Arts & Crafts workshop. 4-H has been the pioneer for over 100 years utilizing the “learn by doing” or “hands on” approach with proven results. The experiential learning, fun and education of combining science and art will shape youths STEM and creative skills, thus creating STEAM. The arts spark creativity in science education as STEAM is shaping the 21st Century workforce.

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