A STEM Council working group was established years ago to pave the way for enriched integration of Arts and STEM and provide enhanced learning experiences and economic opportunities for Iowans. The STEM and Arts Working Group produced recommendations which were adopted in 2017 and led to the introduction of the STEM Seal of Approval for Arts and Culture integration, integration of Arts criteria in the STEM Scale-Up Program rubric and promotion of Arts, Culture and STEM integration exemplars through Council resources.
The STEM Council’s operations team met recently with the co-chairs of the STEM and Arts Working Group – Leon Kuehner, Iowa Alliance for Art Education Executive Director, and Steve Triplett, University of Iowa College of Education Clinical Instructor and Program Coordinator – to brainstorm ways by which the Arts and Humanities and other essential disciplines that may lie outside of the acronym STEM remain essential to well-rounded and productive graduates of Iowa’s educational system. Resulting from the discussion, a document was produced to outline specific ways educators across disciplines, specifically the Arts, are included in the STEM Council’s suite of solutions, including:
- Each year there are programs from the STEM Scale-Up Program menu that fit nicely into arts curriculum, ranging from building robots and wind turbines to virtual reality and coding.
- Teams of educators and business partners provide learning experiences driven by business and industry needs, a rigorous, relevant and dynamic STEM curriculum and authentic partnerships through the STEM BEST Program. Art principles can be applied to future career connections through design and other creative avenues.
- STEM Day at the Iowa State Fair provides a great opportunity to demonstrate the connection between STEM and arts principles through droppable-1572552519128hands-on exhibits from dozens of organizations across the state and dynamic STEM state acts.
- Family STEM festivals are hosted in each STEM region as a free and engaging educational experience for youth and their families that connect STEM and arts through hands-on activities.