STEAMed Magazine January 2016 - Page 7

While writing my graduate thesis on expanding STEM into STEAM, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how students can learn academic concepts through creative methods. The STEAM initiative demonstrates that learning through artistic processes can develop both academic and non-academic skills necessary for students’ future success. My action research consisted of a collaborative unit with my school’s science and technology teachers that would enable our 7th graders to master the concepts of mitosis and meiosis through the process of stop-motion animation. Stop-motion animation is itself a STEAM activity, as students use technology skills and design principles to film their videos in a clear and aesthetically-pleasing presentation. They also use basic math skills to determine how many frames per second a video needs to have in order to run smoothly. In addition to the science, art, and technology standards we aimed to meet, we also hoped to promote the 4 C’s: collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. I wanted my students to realize that an artistic process requires many of the same skills that a science experiment would, and therefore deserves the same attention and effort. Objectives: • Be able to differentiate between the stages of mitosis and meiosis. • Demonstrate the ability to collaborate and communicate with peers, and to think critically and creatively about their work. • Use the Stop Motion Studio app to create an animated video that clearly shows the processes of cell division. • Use iMovie to edit and publish their videos. To emphasize the importance of the 4 C’s, the students were randomly assigned to groups of 3 or 4. Each group had to submit a proposal that outlined what materials they wanted to use, how they planned to use them, and how they could prevent common animation problems like camera shake and continuity issues. They also created a storyboard prior to filming so that they had a clear plan of each part of the mitosis and meiosis processes. Students were given a brief introduction to the science “I wanted my students to realize that an artistic process requires many of the same skills that a science experiment would, and therefore deserves the same attention and effort.” STEAMed Magazine 7 January 2016 Edition