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The Importance of Arts in STEM Education

When I was in grade school, I found science and math boring. We did experiments we already knew the outcomes for. We learned formulas that gave us one right answer every time. My drive to find something more thought-provoking and challenging pushed me away from these fields and toward the arts.

It wasn’t until I got to graduate school that I began to wonder whether a different approach to my early science and math education would have led me in a completely different direction. As I interacted more and more with colleagues in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, I began to see just how much creativity and critical thinking is required to be a great scientist or engineer.

Those of us who are professionals in artistic fields can take advantage of the current focus on STEM education to help make science, technology, engineering, and math relevant and engaging to kids through arts.

Here are 2 of the many ways we can do it:

Embody Science.

Study the principles of biology and physics that enable humans to train our bodies. How is it that trained martial artists, dancers, and athletes can perform movements that seem impossible to the common observer? From a scientific perspective, what happens to the body biologically and physically when people train?

 

Count the Music.

Believe it or not, music is math. Even the most straightforward and evenly phrased music requires awareness of fractions, multiplication, and other mathematical concepts. Musicians, dancers, composers and choreographers do fairly complex math, often without even thinking about it, in order to stay on the beat and create their art.

If you’re a Capoeira instructor, check out the STEM initiatives in your school district and see how you can collaborate!

You just might find that Capoeira, kids, science and math are the perfect fit.

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