- It has been shown in Innovation Collaborative research that STEAM promotes student engagement and learning. It also promotes important higher-level thinking skills. These include observing and asking questions, defining the problem, acquiring knowledge to solve the problem, generating ideas, abstracting (the Big Idea), transforming, synthesizing, visually analyzing, evaluating ideas, developing a solution, collaborating, persisting, creating, communicating, and responding.
- Research also has shown that these skills are most effectively learned through multiple years’ STEAM experiences. In this process, each year builds on the year before, and students increasingly become experts at solving problems innovatively by integrating the arts and humanities with science.
- To look at how these skills develop from early elementary onward, projects were begun in 1st grade at Birdwell Dual Immersion Language School in Tyler, TX ISD and 1st grade in Elkhart Elementary in Elkhart, TX ISD during the 2019-20 school year. These were funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts, with matching funding by Tyler ISD Foundation, United Way of East/Central Texas, and NASA.
- The students showed significant learning of the science and art concepts in addition to the higher-level thinking skills. Comments from teachers included: “This helped them see how using visual thinking helped them solve the science problem” and “This enhanced my students because the kids got to use their own creative thinking and it brought them joy and they found a purpose they’ve never had before”.
- See one of these teachers talking about her students’ experiences in this video:
- Wrote about their invention and presented.