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COCA to expand program that uses art to help students learn math and science

COCA's arts integration programs meld the arts with various academic subjects.  11/21/18
COCA's arts integration programs meld the arts with various academic subjects.

More St. Louis-area students will soon use the arts to help make sense of science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

COCA launched a school residency program devised to combine the arts with the STEM subjects as a pilot program in 2013. This school year the arts center is running 44 such residencies, spread across eight public schools. A $100,000 grant from Boeing will help COCA expand to 60 residencies in nine schools, reaching 1,500 total students.

“There’s actually great connections between arts and sciences, and people don’t always think of the connections between them,” COCA Executive Director Kelly Pollock said. “But both disciplines really use exploring experimenting, observing, to really get at the learning process.”

Teaching artists trained by COCA work in tandem with classroom teachers to implement a curriculum based on arts integration — infusing visual art, drama, literature and other art forms into the core curriculum. The residencies focused on STEM subjects are part of just one such program.

“We might use principles in dance to see how that connects with space. We might use principles that are in theater to connect them with how we understand social studies and history,” Pollock said of COCA’s arts-integration efforts.

Follow Jeremy on Twitter @jeremydgoodwin.


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