KCYA’s STEAM Project Phase III is in full swing. We have placed professional teaching artists with 21 teachers in 3 districts in Missouri, 1 in Kansas, as well as in charter and private schools. The project is made possible by the generous donations of our funders DST Systems and Francis Family Foundation.
At Belinder Elementary in the Shawnee Mission School District, theatre teaching artist Larry Greer is working with STEM Lab teacher Emily Cline. Emily’s third graders are studying flight and learning about lift, thrust, and drag. By integrating theatre arts into the lessons, students are demonstrating their mastery of the concepts by creating a commercial to advertise the Belinder School of Aviation.
Although Emily didn’t have any experience with arts integration, she is sold on the value of using the arts. “This experience has not only allowed the students much needed movement opportunities throughout a lesson, but it also provides a kinesthetic way to deepen their understanding of the scientific concept.”
Emily says she takes notes while Larry is teaching and uses his ideas with other students. “It has also changed me as a teacher because I am taking what I learn from the teaching artist and applying it to the other grade levels I teach, so the effects of the program are spreading across the whole building!”
Larry, who has 30 years of experience acting and teaching, loves that theatre encourages trial, error, and learning from the experience of failure. “That’s one reason arts integration in core curriculum is so vital. If you create a space that allows for experimentation, discovery, and mistakes, students will embrace that process, learn from it, and succeed. Discovering what works through trial and error.”
Thanks to this year’s residency participants. We look forward to working with more schools in the future!