Art may at first seem the opposite of logical pursuits like math and engineering, but innovation comes from inspiration and creativity. Sometimes art can even help scientists see possibilities that seem absolutely illogical. The integration of art in STEM education opens doors that allow the passage of inspiration and connections. It can also be fun for students. How can you use STEAM activities in your classroom? Check out some of our STEM Tuesday books for this month and try these activities out with your students.
The science and technology of Leonardo da Vinci by Elizabeth Pagel-Hogan and Micah Rauch
With a combination of invention, experimentation, and artistry, Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest thinkers of all time, gave the world a host of new insights into science, engineering, and much more. With STEM activities and thought-provoking questions, this book encourages children to look at our world in a deeper, more connected way.
DaVinci created a machine to help artists accurately represent the perspective of a scene. He called it Perspectograph. Have students create their own simple Perspectographs (and use them to make art) with this activity!
What you will need:
- acetate sheets
- eye patch or scarf
- White paper
- paint or colored pencils
- Tape the acetate sheet to a window. Put a chair in front of the window. Put your back to the window.
- Then cover one eye with an eye patch or scarf. Sit in the chair so that you face the window. Now rest your chin on the back of the chair and stay still.
- Trace what you see outside on the acetate sheet. Don’t move your head.
- Next, glue a piece of white paper over the acetate. Trace the drawing on the paper.
- Color the image with paint or colored pencils. Be sure to look out of your toes at the true colors of distant objects. They are darker than nearby objects appear.
Folding Tech: Using Origami and Nature to Revolutionize Technology by Karen Latchana Kenney
Origami, the ancient art of paper folding, is increasingly being used to amazing effect to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems today. This book takes a look at all those technologies that use folding: proteins, space probes, self-assembling robots, and many more.
There are so many cool activities available that combine math and origami, so I thought I’d list a few here for you to try.
Inside In: X-rays of the hidden world of nature by Jan Paul Schutten and Arie Van’t Riet
Who knew that X-rays could be so amazingly beautiful! Using amazing X-ray photography, this book shows us creatures and their natural habitats in unique ways. This book is a perfect blend of science and art.
Sheet prints can help you see the engineering inside a sheet. They reveal the structure of your veins and midrib. Try this activity to reveal the inside of a leaf.
What you will need:
- various types of leaves
- Lay the sheet on a table with the back facing you.
- Now color the back of the sheet.
- Carefully turn the sheet over and place it on a sheet of paper.
- Slowly roll the roller over the sheet once. Don’t let the blade move.
- Remove the sheet to see your print below. Can you identify parts of the leaf structure?
These are just a few STEAM activities to try in your classroom. Find inspiration for other ideas by reading all the books on this month’s reading list!
Karen Latchana Kenney loves writing books about animals and looks for them wherever she goes, from leafcutter ants crawling through the Amazon rainforest in Guyana, where she was born, to puffins in cliffside burrows on the Irish island of Skellig. Michael. She especially likes to create books on nature, biodiversity, conservation, and groundbreaking scientific discoveries, but she also writes on civil rights, astronomy, historical moments, and many other topics. Visit her at https://latchanakenney.wordpress.com.