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Why the “A” in STEAM Building Neural Pathways throughout the Whole Brain

When we are learning, we are building neural pathways in the brain

Adding Art to a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math isn’t about breaking out oil paint and canvas in the science lab. It’s about adding visual, creative components to what’s already happening in STEM classes.
This is not a Left Brain versus Right Brain argument. Our human brain is exceptionally complex and the left and right hemispheres work in a Collaborative relationship with one another, not a competitive relationship. Using Left/Right Brain terminology here is for practical purposes. Focusing on the “A” in STEAM encourages a whole-brain approach, making sure we are developing neural pathways throughout the brain.

Here is an example of adding a visual, creative component to illustrate the process of learning something new.

When we are learning something new, we start with a path in the brain that might be a little bumpy. You can’t travel very quickly along this path.
With more practice, this path develops into a smoother road that’s a little easier to travel along.
More practice and effort really develops this road into a more efficient means of travel.
Soon this road starts branching out and surrounding areas become more accessible and available to you.
Focus, practice and effort transforms what was once an awkward, bumpy and slow pathway into a super-highway where thoughts, ideas and possibilities travel easily and efficiently.

Here is another visual way to illustrate the learning process. It was created with areas of the brain not usually associated with STEM.

A whole-brain approach to education will better prepare our students to be innovators and creative problem solvers.

STEM vs STEAM?

ESC Region 11 STEAM Carnival 2018

And to summarize, here is one more example of a STEAM project.

This presentation was created using Adobe Spark Page and Spark Video in our Art & Media class where we are learning to express and communicate creatively, using technology.

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