Putting the Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics

Music and Math share more in common than just the letter M. In an earlier post, we highlighted three of the ways music supports math learning—counting, spatial awareness, and pattern recognition. Learning the building blocks of math—such as size, measurement, pattern recognition, and counting by rote—start at birth–and the arts naturally engage young children in the learning.


In recent years, many teachers, schools, and entire districts began focusing on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) classes to help prepare children for living and working in our increasingly technology-centered world. However, many educators see the need to add the “Arts” into the equation. (Of course, we absolutely agree!) STEAM integrates and uses the arts in the STEM curriculum to help children express—and understand—STEM concepts. Children naturally learn by using their whole bodies and all of their senses. Experiencing concepts such as size by pretending to move like an elephant, mouse, or giraffe makes a complicated concept three-dimensional. So, children can feel it, relate to it, and understand it!
The National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap, recently launched an Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts initiative. Through teacher training and research, Wolf Trap is helping to strengthen the understanding of how the arts can (and should) be used in early childhood education to teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Using music to express STEM concepts

Music’s proven connections to math can support young children’s math development. For example, children hear, feel, and experience the patterns in music when swaying to a legato section or bouncing to a staccato section or when they dance and sing a song with a verse then a chorus then a verse then a chorus. Try these Kindermusik@Home activities for kids that use music to help them experience patterns.

For babies:

Peas & Carrots Kindermusik@HomeKitchen Dance: Something about the kitchen brings out the dancer in all of us. Moving with a baby is so important. So put on any music you like and get moving! Plus, dancing to music can help even babies hear, feel, and experience patterns.
For toddlers:
Kindermusik@Home Jelly in the BowlThe Jelly in the Bowl:

A kid-favorite, “Jelly in the Bowl” is easy to remember, easy to do, and hard to resist. After a few times, children will understand the pattern of the song and start giggling right before favorite parts.
For preschoolers:
Jumping beans Kindermusik@HomeQuarter Notes & Quarter Rests:  Get your listening ears on, because this game will introduce children to the sound of a quarter note and the “no-sound” of a quarter rest . . . then test children’s ears on how well they recognize them when they’re assembled in patterns!

ABCMMEINTL_LOGO_LiteracyLanguage_OneLineOur early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, uses music and movement as a fun, engaging, and natural way for children to learn. Want to learn more about using music to support STEM learning (and early literacy and language!) in early childhood education? Email us info@abcmusicandme.com. 

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, long-time supporter and believer in the power of the arts.

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