The Evolution of STEM to STEAM: A Book Review & Activity Resources

When I was teaching full time, there was a big push to increase student participation in science, technology, engineering, and math courses and ultimately encourage youth to pursue these careers. In fact, I was hired as an elementary science specialist and was responsible for the science instruction of over 330 students in 4th – 6th grades. In this role, I discovered my true passion … science education.

The Evolution of STEM to STEAM @EvaVarga.netThe Push for STEM

STEM arose from the desire of policy makers to encourage the natural curiosity of youth and their sense of wonder about these fields. These experts say our young people need strong STEM skills to compete in the world market. We must work together to cultivate the next generation of critical thinkers and innovators.

The US Department of Education reports that the number of STEM / STEAM jobs in the United States will grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, growth that the is “much faster “ than the national average of 5-8% across all job sectors. Computer programming and IT jobs top the list of the the hardest to fill jobs and yet they are not the most popular college majors.

With this push for STEM programs and my broad work experiences, I have written extensively about STEM concepts. For several years, I coordinated a STEM Club for homeschool kids in our local area and shared many our activities here with you.

STEAM is the Future

The inclusion of the arts component into STEM makes it more fun to learn, and more approachable to kids. Arts and creativity are crucial to these fields and are the tool that allows technology to be usable in real life.

STEAM represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. The arts are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century.

Fostering a strong STEAM education is our best opportunity to boost the spirit of innovation. It’s what we need to help ensure we continue on a prosperous and secure journey. STEAM literacy is also critical because it has a profound and growing impact on our day-to-day lives. Nature, space exploration, the arts, and any STEAM-related interest reveals to us the beauty and power of the world we inhabit.

steam-kidsSTEAM Kids

I am excited to share with you all a fabulous new book by a group of homeschool moms and science advocates, STEAM Kids: 50+ Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math Hands-on Projects for Kids. They authors have pulled their collective experience and wisdom to provide you with a wealth of fun activities young children will LOVE!

They have just launched and I am delighted to have been given a sneak peak at STEAM Kids in exchange for an honest review. I encourage you to take a peak – I know you’ll love it, too. Over 140 pages of fun hands-on STEAM related activities for young children.

If you’re looking for great hands on activities that encourage children to develop their creative abilities while building upon their skills, STEAM Kids is the answer. Teachers and parents alike will find plenty of ideas to captivate young kids and immerse them in an engaging learning environment.

Like what you see? The STEAM Kids ebook is available for just $14.99!  If you have older kids, consider purchasing copies to give as gifts. One activity a week fully outlined using materials easily found around the house for less than 30¢ a week. You can’t go wrong!

steam-halloweenThat’s not all! During launch week (9/14-9/21), you will also received their STEAM Kids: Halloween activity book free. Thereafter, it will be available for $4.99 so don’t delay. Inside you’ll find 59 pages filled with spooky and sweet Halloween activities perfect for the classroom or at home. Things like pumpkin brush bots, spider web science, Halloween building challenges and more.

As an little expression of gratitude, they’ve also created a FREE Printable highlighting 52 weeks of STEAM activities.

American Art History: An overview of art movements and trends in America

I have always been fascinated by art and traditional handcrafts. Over the years, I have woven a variety of art history and skills lessons into our curriculum. We have also had the opportunity to visit many renowned art museums around the world through our travels.

art-first-nations

When a Native creates a work of art, a story is told. When stories are told, we are healing. When someone sees your story you are freeing yourself and giving other people permission to acknowledge their own stories. ~ PasstheFeather.org

colonial-artMy oldest is now entering high school and her experiences in art have blossomed. It is her passion. She and I have recently begun volunteering at a local art museum and through this experience we have been able to learn of many mediums and artists that were previously unknown to us.

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It has been a fabulous experience. Not only is she learning about art and meeting contemporary artists, she is also learning important job skills that will benefit her in the future. As she is yet underage, I accompany her and have also been learning a great deal – specifically about art history.

civil-war-art

The history of modern art is also the history of the progressive loss of art’s audience. Art has increasingly become the concern of the artist and the bafflement of the public. ~ Paul Gauguin

gilded-ageBeginning this month, I will get to share our experiences and love for art history as a guest blogger for Bright Ideas PressUsing the All American History series as our spine, I will be leading readers through a 10-post series to provide an overview of the history of American art from Pre-Colonial times to today, including multiple art forms.Cubism

Look at everything as though you are seeing it for the first time, with eyes of a child, fresh with wonder. ~ Joseph Cornell

Precisionism

Moving chronologically through the All American History curriculum, each post will summarize the art trends and movements popular during the period and feature one or two artists from that time period. Plus, I will provide a related art lesson or project that you can enjoy with your students.great-depression

Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing. ~ Georgia O’Keeffe

Abstract-ExpressionismFor a historical context, I strongly recommend the corresponding texts:

cold-war-years

I am very excited about this series of posts. If there is an art movement or artist you would like me to consider, please leave comment below. I’m learning just as much as my daughter!

Getting Creative with iDO 3D Art Pens

My daughter has always loved anything related to arts and handcrafts. Even as a toddler she would spend hours drawing and making gifts for her family with my craft supplies. It is no wonder that art is one of her strongest passions. She has wanted to try 3D art pens for some time and was delighted to learn I would have the opportunity to review the IDO3D for my readers.

As a family, we have been volunteering regularly at the new marine life center and have made several field trips to a variety of coastal habitats to learn more about the local ecology. When the IDO3D art pen arrived, she knew immediately what she wanted to create … jellyfish.

3D Art Pens

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time reviewing this product and for writing this review.

IDO 3D Art Pens

The IDO3D comes with four pens (or color cartridges): blue, green, red, and yellow. Each pen has a safety seal or cap that will need to be removed. Thereafter you will twist on the cap. Lastly, you snap the blue spotlight holder into place (it clicks into place).

There are instructions on how to use the 3D art pens provided as well as helpful tips and tricks detailed in a short video. I was very impressed with how quickly we got the hang of it. Granted, our lines are a little wobbly and jiggly but as they say in the video, “Practice and patience are the key.”

3D Art Pens

Creating Jellyfish with 3D Art Pens

Using my invertebrate zoology textbook as a reference for jellyfish anatomy, she was underway within just a few minutes. One of the materials in the box was a plastic sheet shaped like a bowl which she used to begin her project; creating the exumbrella inversely. She chose blue ink for this part – though she also opted not to fill in the connecting space as she wasn’t sure if she would have enough ink.

Once it had cured, she proceeded to create the internal anatomy with green ink: mouth, gastrovascular cavity, gonads, and oral arms. She discovered, however, that the space was too confined for the spotlight and she wasn’t able to add all the parts she would have liked. “I probably would approach it a little differently next time,” she stated. “I think I should have created the internal parts separately and then attached them later.”

Lastly, she began to add the tentacles and worked vertically as she did so. This proved to be the most challenging part of the process. As they were so long and thin, they kept leaning in one direction or another rather than staying vertical. Like any art medium, she recognizes that it takes practice and patience.

“I really like this pen. It is easy to use and I can create something right away. Perhaps the jellyfish was too complicated for my first project.”

3D Art Pens

Classes & Projects for IDO 3D Art Pens

We look forward to creating a variety of projects with the IDO3D art pen. There are also several 3D Art Classes from which to choose. When my son saw the following video he said,

“You can do all that?! That’s so cool!”

Where to Buy IDO 3D Art Pens

The IDO3D art pen is available from a variety of retailers nationwide. It is also available on Amazon.

For ideas and inspiration for projects, I encourage you to follow IDO3D on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

Art History with Alisha: Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop

Geneva will be starting high school this fall and art and the study of art history has always been a passion for her. One of the ways we help her to increase her skills is to take part in art classes with local artists as well as online courses. Perhaps the best things about an online course is that they are less expensive. We also love the convenience.

To calculate high school credit, students are required to log 120-180 hours of experience in one subject. For art credit options may include field trips, research and writing assignments, and direct instruction either in person or via an online course. A combination of these strategies all work together to help her to meet her academic art goals.

I am so excited for Alisha’s new mixed media online art workshop available at Flourish – the first in an art history series focusing on master artists like Van Gogh and Georgia O’Keeffe. Mixing with the Masters is a course designed to allow students to do art with the masters and learn art history in an online format. I know this course will be a fun and fascinating look into art history.   Art History with Alisha

 

Disclosure: We were given free access to “Mixing with the Masters”  in exchange for our honest insights. This post contains affiliate links.

Art History with the Masters

Art appreciation and learning from art masters is an excellent way to introduce children and teens to various forms of art and the people behind them. Here are a couple of print resources we have used to teach about art masters in our homeschool:

Art That Changed the World 

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work

Art museums, galleries, and public installation art also provide opportunities for students to learn from the masters. Small museums sometimes feature traveling exhibits and one such occasion enabled us to see works by MC Escher.

Our travels have permitted us to see original works by Gustav Vigeland and Edvard Munch in Oslo. We have also seen works by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, and Wassily Kandinsky, and Alexander Calder at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume OneArt History Online Course

The six week Mixing with the Masters volume 1 art history course begins in August and will integrate a variety of art techniques including:

  • Sketching & charcoal drawing
  • Acrylic painting techniques, such as:
    • Fresco
    • Chiaroscuro
    • Impasto
    • Alla Prima
    • Gradient
  • Watercolor painting
  • Pastel painting
  • Wax resist
  • Collage art
  • And MORE!

Each unique art piece will reflect the artist’s original style and intent, but we will playfully reconstruct it in our own whimsical way.

Mixing with the Masters Mixed Media Workshop, Volume One
Each Mixing with the Masters volume will study 6 different master artists (released over a 6-week period). Volume One includes:

  • Da Vinci ~ High Renaissance
  • Rembrandt ~ Baroque 
  • Monet ~ Impressionism
  • Van Gogh ~ Post-Impressionism
  • Picasso ~ Cubism
  • O’Keeffe ~ American Modernism

Each week beginning August 1st, the instructor will email a link to a private eCourse with tutorials for the lesson. The best part is that we can work at our own pace. We will receive lifetime access to this course so there is no pressure to get through the material. We can take our time and review the lesson tutorials as often as we like.

We are really excited for this art history mixed media course. Having taken previous mixed media classes with Alisha, I know she will inspire my daughter and help to cultivate her Passion for art even more.

We know it will be the perfect way to begin the new school year. If you would like to join us, register today! Classes begin Monday, August 1st!

Early Registration price = $48 (through July 31st)
Regular price
 = $60 (beginning August 1st)

For more information or to register, visit Mixing with the Masters volume 1 today.

Science Milestones: The Art and Science of Rube Goldberg

Rube Goldberg was a famous cartoonist who took simple and compound machines which are meant to make tasks easier, and made them overly complex. His cartoons depicted complex machines that worked in an indirect and convoluted way, such as the “Self-Operating Napkin”.

Art and Science of Rube Goldberg @EvaVarga.net

As you raise spoon of soup (A) to your mouth it pulls string (B), thereby jerking ladle (C) which throws cracker (D) past parrot (E). Parrot jumps after cracker and perch (F) tilts, upsetting seeds (G) into pail (H). Extra weight in pail pulls cord (I) which opens and lights automatic cigar lighter (J), setting off sky-rocket (K), which causes sickle (L) to cut string (M) and allow pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin.

Rube Goldberg Physics

When Goldberg showed his “Self-Operating Napkin” machine to his friend, his friend said it would not work. Using what you know about mechanical advantage and work, prove to Goldberg’s friend that the invention will actually work.

Work (in Joules, J) = Force (Newtons, J) x Distance (m)

Mechanical Advantage of a Lever = Distance from fulcrum to the applied force / Distance from fulcrum to weight lifted

You raise your spoon of soup 0.15 meters with 2 Newtons of force. How much work did you do?

The spoon pulls a string as you move it. How much work is transferred?

The string jerks the ladle, which is a lever. The string is attached 10 cm from the fulcrum and the force is applied 0.5 m from the fulcrum. What is the mechanical advantage?

The spoon throws a cracker past a parrot. The parrot jumps after the cracker, applying force to the perch he is sitting on. The perch spins around throwing the seeds into a pail. The perch is another lever. It has a mechanical advantage of 2. If it would take 0.5 J of work to move the seeds 0.1m without the lever, how much force will be needed with the lever?

The extra weight in the pail pulls a cord, which goes around a pulley and opens and lights an automatic cigar lighter. If the pail can apply 3 N of force to the cord, and the pulley system has a mechanical advantage of 2, how much total force can be applied to the match?

The match sets off the rocket, which causes a sickle to cut the string, allowing a pendulum with attached napkin to swing back and forth thereby wiping off your chin. If 3 N of force is needed to strike the match, will the system work?

Discover the amazing resources and contests at Rube Goldberg.

Biography

The Art and Science of Rube Goldberg @EvaVarga.netReuben Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born on July 4, 1883, in San Francisco, California. He loved to draw and received some basic art instruction when he worked with a sign painter as a young teen. Rather than pursue a career in art, though, he followed his father’s advice and attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his degree in engineering.

Mapping out sewer pipes and water mains in San Francisco didn’t hold Rube’s interest for long, though. He began creating cartoons for local San Francisco papers. He eventually moved to New York where he landed a job as a cartoonist for the Evening Mail.

He used his engineering background to create funny cartoons featuring complicated machines that were described as new inventions to accomplish easy, straightforward tasks through a series of convoluted steps involving chain reactions. The public quickly fell in love with Rube’s inventions.

His work became popular nationwide, as his cartoons were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers across the country. The art world also loved his works, some of which were displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Rube even made it to Hollywood, where his move script “Soup to Nuts” introduced a trio who would soon become famous as the Three Stooges.

Bring It Home

Check out the following activities to learn more about Rube Goldberg and his work:

Dive a little deeper into the history by watching this video that explores the man behind the machines.

If you have a smartphone or a tablet, you can purchase and download Rube Works, a fun game that challenges you to build a virtual Rube Goldberg machine.

Make your own homemade Rube Goldberg machine! Check out Make a Rube Goldberg Machine for ideas to help you get started.

A Rube Goldberg culminating project will be included in the Physics Logic: Simple Machines & Laws of Motion curriculum to be released soon.

Science MilestonesYou may also be interested in learning about other inventors and scientists who have made an impact in our lives.

The bloggers of the iHomeschool Network have teamed up to create fun and original unit studies on fascinating people who were born in July.

Finishing Strong #81

Welcome to Finishing Strong, a weekly linkup for those homeschooling students in middle and high school years. Hosted by us here at EvaVarga, along with our friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan & Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight – will find inspiration and ideas to engage your teens and preteens.
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Bloggers, you are encouraged to link up your best ideas, encouragement, and advice that’s appropriate for older kids being schooled at home. Make sure you take some time to read the posts shared below. I know you will find them helpful!

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