At first glance, including art in the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and math may seem like a distraction from the goal to educate a young and thriving workforce. In reality, teaching student to tap their creative sides and work with new materials only strengthens student ability to innovate. The benefits of the integration of art into STEM courses are manifold.

Art ignites student engagement. By providing students with new materials and new outlets to represent their creative drive, the classroom becomes a more attractive place to be—literally and figuratively. The only thing that could make ELM projects even more hands on and engaging, is presenting students with the opportunity for fully customize their designs according to their own creativity.  Whether it’s choosing the color for their product or designing the layout of their work spaces, students learn to harness their own creativity and put art to work in the lab.

Art increases student exposure. The term medium refers to the material and artist chooses to work with. In today’s modern world, art is not limited to just paint. ELM students regularly walk into class to be introduced to a new medium. Students may work with items such as paint and varnish, LED lighting, cardboard, metals, recycled technologies, 3D printers, and beyond! Such exposure allows students familiarity with mediums before they enter the workforce, giving them a competitive edge.

Art enables innovation. Working with these materials also teaches ingenuity as students practice with different materials to develop the most appealing and marketable versions of their inventions. Practicing with different materials also helps to increase the functionality of their product. It may be that the first medium is not as effective as the sixth. The only way for a student to know for sure is through trial and error.

Art enhances communication skills. One of the most practical applications of art in STEM is its use in data visualization. As part of their learning experience, ELM students learn how to most effectively and persuasively represent information through graphic design and audio/visual technology.

STEAM + Art = STEAM = a stronger student. The math is simple!