Proposal Title

A Creative Approach: Teaching Science through Arts-based Learning

Session Type

Presentation

Room

P&A Rm 34

Start Date

July 2015

Keywords

Experiential Learning, Creative Teaching, Embodied Pedagogy, Interdisciplinary Approaches

Primary Threads

Teaching and Learning Science

Abstract

Active learning has been shown to increase student performance in science classrooms (Freeman et al., 2014, Haak et al., 2011), although this increase appears to only be relevant when constructivist approaches are used (Andrews et al., 2011). Arts-based approaches to learning—including aesethetic/sensory engagement, embodied activities, and creative student-led presentations—present an opportunity for active, hands-on learning that is experiential in nature. Inspired by the theme of this year’s conference, we will explore how to gather creative ideas for active learning, create something interdisciplinary, engaging, and insightful, and improve interest and knowledge retention. To do this, we need to make space for students to creatively re-imagine their learning environment.

For many students science is scary, full of strange words, difficult concepts, and an intimidating methodology. How can we learn about biological cells, electrophoresis, carbon cycles—not to mention how our bodies work—in a fun, accessible, yet still scientific way? Art provides an answer. Through engaging activities, movement, drawing, metaphor and storytelling we can bridge the fear gap and tap into learner creativity. An interdisciplinary approach helps make science feel more inclusive and allows students to utilize the strengths they bring to the classroom. This talk will include props, poetry, music and other unexpected surprises, and will be highly interactive.

References:

Andrews, T.M., Leonard, M.J., Colgrove, C.A., & Kalinowski, S.T. (2011). “Active learning not associated with student learning in a random sample of college biology courses.” CBE Life Sciences Education 10(4), 394–405. doi: 10.1187/cbe.11-07-0061

Haak, D.C., Hille Ris Lambers, J., Pitre, E., & Freeman, S. (June 3, 2011). “Increased structure and active learning reduce the achievement gap in introductory biology.” Science, 332(6034)1213­–6.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M.P. (2013). “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111, no. 23, 8410–5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111

Elements of Engagement

This presentation will be experiential in nature, and directly involve participants. Audience members will be asked to draw a biological drawing of the presenter (i.e., me), to move like nematodes, and to pass ping pong balls in a demonstration of counter-current exchange.

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Jul 9th, 11:15 AM

A Creative Approach: Teaching Science through Arts-based Learning

P&A Rm 34

Active learning has been shown to increase student performance in science classrooms (Freeman et al., 2014, Haak et al., 2011), although this increase appears to only be relevant when constructivist approaches are used (Andrews et al., 2011). Arts-based approaches to learning—including aesethetic/sensory engagement, embodied activities, and creative student-led presentations—present an opportunity for active, hands-on learning that is experiential in nature. Inspired by the theme of this year’s conference, we will explore how to gather creative ideas for active learning, create something interdisciplinary, engaging, and insightful, and improve interest and knowledge retention. To do this, we need to make space for students to creatively re-imagine their learning environment.

For many students science is scary, full of strange words, difficult concepts, and an intimidating methodology. How can we learn about biological cells, electrophoresis, carbon cycles—not to mention how our bodies work—in a fun, accessible, yet still scientific way? Art provides an answer. Through engaging activities, movement, drawing, metaphor and storytelling we can bridge the fear gap and tap into learner creativity. An interdisciplinary approach helps make science feel more inclusive and allows students to utilize the strengths they bring to the classroom. This talk will include props, poetry, music and other unexpected surprises, and will be highly interactive.

References:

Andrews, T.M., Leonard, M.J., Colgrove, C.A., & Kalinowski, S.T. (2011). “Active learning not associated with student learning in a random sample of college biology courses.” CBE Life Sciences Education 10(4), 394–405. doi: 10.1187/cbe.11-07-0061

Haak, D.C., Hille Ris Lambers, J., Pitre, E., & Freeman, S. (June 3, 2011). “Increased structure and active learning reduce the achievement gap in introductory biology.” Science, 332(6034)1213­–6.

Freeman, S., Eddy, S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M.P. (2013). “Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111, no. 23, 8410–5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111