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  • alberta8


Updated: May 26, 2020

The STEM to STEAM educational movement strives to put the "A" (Art/Design) in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning. As the STEM to STEAM movement grows, it is important to document STEAM-specific learning. In gathering evidence about STEAM learning, we are showing how well STEAM works and how integral all the subjects in STEAM really are.

We recently had the opportunity to document an educational project from start to finish. On the one-year anniversary of the 2013 Boston Marathon, which was a day of both tragedy and bravery for the Boston community, Advent School students created artwork as a memorial in honor of the Marathon and a celebration of the City of Boston. The Advent School, a Boston independent elementary school dedicated to innovative teaching and learning styles, developed a project for their older students to create an installation of flowers made by hand. We filmed the process - not only to document the outcome but to show that learning is an integral part of project design. You can watch the video here:

A visiting artist, Amy Flurry, Co-Founder of the Paper-Cut-Project, led the students in creating “Flowers for Boston.” Amy brought plants and flowers for the students to study and instructed them on how to recreate the shapes and structures of flowers with bristol paper. We filmed as the students used investigative processes and learned to transform their observations into representative artwork. It was fascinating to capture the students’ careful examination of the details of flowers, and then to watch as they put that new knowledge to use in engineering sculptural interpretations. 

Documenting learning helps children, parents, teachers, and administrators to learn, teach, and understand. Not only does it encourage reflection and memory for students, but strengthens planning and curriculum development as well as engagement from parents and administrators. Making learning visible means that everyone involved in the educational process can take an active role in evaluating progress and discovery. 

Thanks to Advent Art Instructor Saskia Van Vactor and David Van Vactor for making this art/science learning possible at the Advent School. The “Flowers for Boston” installation can be seen at J.P. Licks, 150 Charles Street on Beacon Hill, until Friday, April 25.

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