STEAMed Magazine July 2015 - Page 20

practices by employing a process of inquiry that is interdisciplinary in nature (Art21, 2015; Gude, 2013; Stewart and Walker, 2009) and will in turn give students more opportunity to practice the kind of thinking that is the hallmark of current research on creativity (Bronson and Merryman, 2010). Several years ago, BSCS (Biological Sciences Curricular Study) developed the 5E Instructional Model. Briefly, the 5E Instructional Model was “designed to facilitate the process of conceptual change” and is composed of the following five phases: engagement, exploration, explanation, elaboration, and evaluation. From the BSCS website, a student’s interaction with the model would look like this: 1. The student’s prior knowledge is accessed and interest in the phenomenon being studied is engaged 2. The student participates in an activity that facilitates conceptual change 3. The student generates an explanation of the phenomenon (often in collaboration with other students) 4. The student’s understanding of the phenomenon challenged and deepened through new experiences, and 5. The student assesses their understanding of the phenomenon. An art educator simply has to change the focus of the model from the exploration of a natural “phenomenon” that would be the crux of study in the biological sciences to the “enduring ideas” (Stewart and Walker, 2009) embedded in the study of art and this model readily “places the student in a central role for generating and investigating questions tied to authentic interests and needs (Stewart and Walker, 2009, 16). This kind of lesson planning will feel somewhat foreign to the art educator who conceives of an effective art lesson as one that teaches a specific technical skill and results in a product which is then assessed by how well that particular skill is articulated in the work. When ideas rather than formal qualities are the focus of the artwork, the fear often arises that the development of artmaking skills will suffer or that standards cannot be applied to the products due to the number of varied outcomes possible. However, it has been our experience that students invest more effort in developing the techniques necessary to complete the artwork that best conveys their response to the enduring idea being explored through the 5E process, and that an evaluation instrument like the one College Board uses to assess Advanced Placement portfolios is well-suited to handle the diversity of products that students will create at the end of a 5E lesson. Generally, the overall quality of the student work is higher rather than lower at the end of a 5E lesson cycle in the art room. 20