Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Education

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Daugherty, Michael

Reader

Carter, Vinson

Second Reader

Imbeau, Marcia

Abstract

The purpose of STEAM instruction in K-12 classrooms emphasizes the teaching of 21st century learning skills using innovative thinking to solve real-world problems and specifically combines the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (Claymier, 2014; Gjovik and Skophammer, 2013). This study investigated how teaching children to recognize connections among subject areas using STEAM promotes innovation in students by using art to teach flexibility and fluidity in thinking. The goal was to determine if integrating art into a STEM project influences the attitude students have towards themselves and their abilities, their attitudes towards how different skill sets work together, and their attitudes towards the different STEAM subject areas. This research focused on fourth grade students from a rural elementary school in Northwest Arkansas, and a suburban school from the same area. Neither have had STEAM intervention. Only one class from each school, chosen at random, received the STEAM intervention. Both schools received the STEAM lesson within a month of one another. The lesson was taught in two sessions of two hours with both sessions being taught in the same week. The post-test was delivered by the researcher in the classroom immediately following the completion of the STEAM lesson. For the classrooms not receiving the STEAM lesson, the post-test was delivered by the classroom teacher. The research shows that when exposed to this method of teaching, students’ interest in building things and investigating how things work increased. Student desire to become an artist, musician or actor increased along with an increased knowledge of the professions of engineering and art. Positive results unique to the suburban school included students having an increased belief in their ability to tackle problems without first knowing the answer, and picturing projects in their heads before building them. Scores increased when asked if students believed if artists make people’s lives better. Scores for all other survey questions decreased or remained the same. More research needs to be conducted on how STEAM instruction affects student learning over an extended period, and how it affects students’ perceptions of their abilities to succeed in the other STEAM content areas.

Share

COinS