Arts and sciences valuable

November 10, 2018

The need for the U.S. to remain competitive in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) gave rise to the STEM education movement.

Classrooms across the country focused on improving test results and measurable outcomes for these subjects. An unintentional and unfortunate side effect of this was limited resources, both financial and time, for art programs.

Enter STEAM.

STEAM education enhances traditional STEM subjects by including an artistic element.

Why are the arts important? Studies from the National Endowment for the Arts and Americans for the Arts illustrate the social-emotional benefit of arts participation in early childhood and higher SAT scores for students with arts and music classes.

Students with multiple years of arts education, regardless of socio-economic background, are more likely to graduate than their peers. And that’s not all.

Arts education provides creative critical thinking skills. Employers report the need for workers who can problem solve by imagining solutions and possibilities. This creative approach helps drive innovation, and these skills are best developed through the arts. STEAM bundles art and design naturally with science, technology, engineering and math.

The benefits of STEAM education are not just for the young. There’s no expiration date on learning. Embracing new experiences and education at any age will benefit your life.

Where and how can you become STEAM-powered? Look no further than the Norfolk Public Library. Our library is a source for more than the literary arts. It has embraced the concept of using technology to stimulate creativity.

The library is currently hosting 15 MakerSpaces — a variety of technological learning stations ranging from LEGO to laser cutting. Explore the possibilities with 3D printing, try out the inventor’s kit or use the Makey Makey kit to turn anything you can imagine into a working keyboard — even a banana or the person sitting next to you. They also offer you the opportunity to share knowledge and collaborate with friends and family. Imagine using the green screen and camera kit to create a family video or multiple generations building a robot together.

Here’s the caveat — it’s for a limited time. The MakerSpaces are available to Norfolk through a Library Innovation Studies grant. In mid-January, the kits will move to another library.

Many of these innovative tools are not readily available in our area, so take advantage of them while you can.

The Norfolk Public Library is evaluating which tools are the most popular among the community in hopes that permanent stations can be acquired. Some of the equipment requires training, which is provided by the library. For information, contact the library.

Area Arts

NECC Visiting Writers Series —Hawk’s Landing in NECC Student Center — November 14 at 4:00

Jerry Barlow, Celtic Guitar - Norfolk Public Library - November 15 at 6:30 p.m.

“Under Two Hundred” exhibit — Blue Cat Gallery & Studio in Wayne — Nov. 1 through Dec. 22

“Dress Code: Frills, Fashion & Function” exhibit — Elkhorn Valley Museum — Nov. 16 through April 27.

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