Brianne Gidcumb | June 2015

STEM to STEAM Strategy Boost

As I talk to educators about making the transition from STEM to STEAM, more often than not, teachers express their discomfort in integrating the arts. It feels too big an undertaking for some. Others might feel ill-equipped to provide instruction in the arts. Luckily, that’s what we here at EdCloset are here for. So today, I want to share a few strategies for infusing the arts into STEM contents. We can all use a little STEAM strategy boost every now and then, so if you’re new to arts integration, or if you’re just looking to revamp your STEAM strategy toolkit, read on!



Have students create choreographed sequences to represent a given scientific concept. For example, the life cycle of a butterfly, how different types of rocks are formed, the different phases of the water cycle. See Typhani’s Dances with Water lesson plan for ideas!

Geometric art:

Visual art and geometry are such a natural pair- why not capitalize on the connection? Have students create a piece of visual art to demonstrate their understanding of geometric concepts, or find examples of those concepts in existing pieces of artwork. See our Mondrian art lesson or our Tangram Shape lesson for some ideas of where to begin!

Museum or Visual Art Scavenger Hunt:

On a museum visit or in a makeshift “gallery,” ask students to find images related to units of scientific study such as plants, animals, landforms, or related to math, such as geometry. Ask students to make note of specific elements of each piece of art, and/or have them comment on how the artwork communicates the subject matter. See our Creating Classroom Exhibits article to expand on the idea of a classroom museum.

Patterns and Musical Form:

Have students listen to a piece of music and map the form to find patterns in musical composition, or have students create their own composition to match a given pattern or form. See our Creating Patterns lesson for an example!

Artful Journaling:

In this post by Susan from 2011, she talks about artful journaling as a way to have students record their ideas in an artful way- a great tool for scientific thinking and math concepts!

Want to learn more about how to integrate arts standards within STEM content areas to build a STEAM strategy and approach? Check out our STEAM in Learning self-paced, online class and receive 2 graduate credits or 80 CPU hours.

What are your favorite strategies for integrating the arts into STEAM?

About the Author

Brianne is a former music educator from Chicago and current graduate class instructor with EdCloset’s Learning Studios. She earned her Masters degree in Music Education from VanderCook College of Music and has over a decade of experience in the elementary general music classroom. With her experience in the performing arts, Brianne is dedicated to building connections between the arts and Common Core Standards, 21st century learning skills, inquiry and project-based learning. In addition to her work with EducationCloset, Brianne is a yoga instructor in the Chicagoland area. You can also find Brianne here: