By Dulcie Willis
Tuesday, November 8 is National STEM/STEAM Day, intended to inspire kids in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.
STEM is an acronym originating from the U.S. National Science Foundation which refers to the academic disciplines Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In recent years, many educators have argued for the integration of Art into the STEM model, transforming the acronym to STEAM. This idea has gained widespread support in educational communities across the country. Programs such as Pretty Brainy and Project MC2 are especially focused on encouraging girls to explore STEAM since there is currently a dearth of U.S. women specializing in these fields.
At the Lincoln Center, we like to practice the STEAM model with our own educational outreach efforts. In October 2014, 60 Poudre School District middle school students experienced a lecture-demonstration and workshop with Cirque Mechanics, a circus group which utilizes and experiments with mechanical wonders. Students saw firsthand how science and engineering innovation is integrated with performing arts through bicycles, crank sets, rigging, counterweights and other mechanical devices.
Just last week, over 2, 000 2nd and 3rd grade students saw the performance Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live here at the Lincoln Center. This show was a perfect example of STEAM — a theatrical performance utilizing science and technology in the development of life-like puppets based on paleontologists’design.
While these two performances are excellent examples, we would argue that STEAM is everywhere and in everything at the Lincoln Center. There is physics in lighting design and sound system waves, geometry in moving and storing props, chemistry in fog and special effects, mathematics in the construction of sets and costumes. And of course, art is undeniable in all of these elements as they combine to make the beautiful and compelling artistic performances we see here every week.
We invite you to join the celebration of National STEM/STEAM Day on November 8, and the next time you visit the Lincoln Center, consider how STEAM-y we really are!
Click here for more information about National STEM/STEAM day.