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How does one add “A” to a STEM class? With degrees in art making them partial to adding the “A” to STEM, Tom and Tracy Hazzard explain why you should be, too. Listen to some of their tips on how you can incorporate arts, design, science, and math in 3D printing and in your kid’s daily education.
Listen to the podcast here:
How To Add A To A STEM Class?
We’ve covered this topic before when we were talking about education, but this one is specific and a great question because I ask myself this all the time, “How do I add A to my 3D print STEM class?” I asked myself that all the time in relation to our daughters. How do I make sure that they get art and design and not just math and science?
If you’re not in an art field, you may overlook it. The reality is there is a lot of math involved in art and design.
Teaching them art and design is teaching them math. Teaching them art and design and 3D printing is teaching them science. I look at it as the more fun way to teach them.
It’s one thing to teach them the skills of how to 3D print something, but it comes into how they’re going to differentiate and make what they’re printing their own.
If you stifle the design part of it, the creative process in it, I know you’ve got to get a certain level of skill stuff covered in the scope of things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t structure their project where you give them free rein to be creative in it, use any color they want, add in their own details. You’ve got to keep the projects open enough so that we don’t stifle the creativity.
You give them enough of the dots they have to connect, but that doesn’t mean they have to connect those dots with a straight line.
That applies at a young age. Make sure that they have to make a cube and they print a cube. Let them make a cube and add stuff to it, had snowflakes on it or princesses or whatever they want to do.
Subtract things from it or make a little puzzle piece. That was a great thing that John Bokla did in his little Tinkercad video series, which is all about trying to educate youth about 3D printing. It starts with the CAD. Using some 3D primitives, he takes them through a tutorial of how to make a three-dimensional puzzle and they get to do it their way.
Keeping that creativity open is the number one way to keep A in STEM. The other way is especially as you get older in it, because we tend to condition out the creativity in our education system. We pull it out because we need to make a more clear-cut A, B, C. It’s hard to grade these things. I understand your difficulty as an educator. It’s hard. In art school, we have a critique process. You don’t have that clear-cut A, B, C stuff to worry about. You have to keep that open because that innovation and that creative thinking and that design thinking is critical to the scientific process, to mathematical invention and growth there. All things have to do with invention and innovation in all areas of STEM.
We can’t take out that thought process. One of the things I think would be a great thing to do is to bring in some design professionals. There have got to be some parents out there that you can bring into your classroom who’d be willing to talk about it, who’d be willing to do a brainstorm session on what are the possibilities of what you can make and what you can do with this. They used to do this in art classes. They used to show slideshows. Bring out some great inspiring designs. These are things that you can do at the beginning of anything. Let’s say your lesson that week is about line or form. Bring out things that represent form, but in ways that kids never thought of before. Open up their minds.
Any way that you can inject a little A into STEM. I hope that in a couple of years we’re not hearing STEM anymore. We’re hearing STEAM all over the place because you cannot ignore the art in education.
It’s going to become a design economy. Those with the skills in creativity and the design side of it are going to be in demand. If the thought process, if the ability to think that way and create that way is not there, we’re going to be in trouble. The STEM part isn’t going to grow fast enough.
Spoken from a couple of our educated designers, take that with whatever grain of salt you want. How can you remove art from anything in life?
Design from 3D printing, you can’t remove it.
You’re making products that you want people to buy or you’re going to be making files that you want people to download so they can 3D print them themselves. You need to make an emotional connection with your customer. How are you going to do that unless you’re considering how it looks and all those aspects of form, color and scale proportion, all those design principles. In any way you introduce it is going to be a good thing.
Keep pushing to keep it included. Cooperate with the art class.
There’s got to be an art teacher within your school even if it’s only part-time. We see all too often, but I’m sure they’d be interested to help them participate.
If you have any tips out there, if you have places where you can get courses or help for teachers who need to add design into their curriculum for 3D printing or anything like that out there, please let us know about it. You can go to our website, HazzDesign.com. There’s a send voicemail at the top of every page. There are links all over the place and we’d love to add you in and get your information out there.
We’re everywhere on social media @HazzDesign. Thank you for reading.
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