For many years, the myth that people are either left brained or right brained was perpetuated. The belief was that left brained people favored logical, rational thought, while right-brained people were creative free spirits. That’s since been debunked, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that people don’t favor a particular type of thinking.
Some of us are certainly more geared to logical, rational thought processes like math and science, while others seem drawn to creative, artistic pursuits. There’s no denying that.
What is interesting, however, is research that indicates that studying art might be beneficial in STEM settings too.
Creative Pursuits Foster Imagination
One of the most exciting things about STEM careers today is that we’re genuinely on the cutting edge of innovation. Never before in human history have so many technological advances happened simultaneously. All those changes are born in the imagination of people who combine the best of creativity and science, and it’s definitely a marriage made in heaven.
In fact, there’s growing evidence that kids who study STEM and art or other creative pursuits tend to do better long term. Rather than focusing on just one “side” of the brain, attention is given to both types of thought, and the results are markedly better. Both for the kids who are studying these topics, and later on, when they’re designing and creating the future.
It’s not all news though. Indeed, one only has to look at Leonardo Da Vinci to see a centuries old example of one of the best combinations of artistic creativity and logical science!
Art Adds Fun
There’s no doubt that combining creativity and logic leads to great ideas and innovations, but there’s another good reason to encourage art in STEM education. It’s fun.
Anyone who has ever sat in a math or science class on a warm afternoon and nodded off just a little (and we’ve all been there) will tell you that no matter how much you love this field of study, there are going to be times when the theory is just a little bit boring.
Art injects a little more fun into STEM studies, and when kids are having fun, they’re not dozing off, and they’re fully engaged, and we all know that engaged kids are more likely to understand and enjoy their studies.
Life Really Does Imitate Art
One only has to watch Star Trek (one of the flagship shows for STEM fans around the world) to see that life truly does imitate art. In fact, if you do find the time to watch a few vintage episodes, you will undoubtedly see at least a few gizmos and gadgets that were dreamed up specifically for the show.
In the case of Star Trek, creative minds dreamed up storylines that demanded gadgets, and over the years since, technological advances have made those items reality. Adding art to STEM encourages the same thing in kids. Creative arts are limited only by the imagination, and allow kids to come up with original, interesting ideas. STEM studies give them the tools to make those fantastic ideas a reality.
Whether it’s computer programming, industrial design, medical science or anything else, you need to have both the creative and the rational. So don’t make your kids choose. Encourage well-rounded study that includes a little bit of everything.