STEAM-Professional Learning

STEAM: Learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in and through the Arts

On Friday 19 June 2015, ArtsEdge hosted a full-day professional learning event at Scitech which brought together teachers, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) educators, artists and arts and cultural organisations to collaborate on the development of practical and engaging classroom activities for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics) education.

The objectives for the event were:

  • for teachers to develop practical ideas to engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education in and through the Arts;
  • to strengthen the working relationships between teachers, arts and cultural practitioners and STEM organisations and professionals for future collaboration in education;
  • to support artists/arts and cultural organisations and scientists/science organisations to develop a greater awareness of the professional learning and resource needs of teachers; and
  • to strengthen the understanding of ArtsEdge about current trends in both sectors to inform the future development of professional learning opportunities.

Throughout the day, attendees engaged with professional science, arts and education practitioners and participated in two collaborative workshops. The event agenda can be downloaded here.

The following chapters provide video highlights from each workshop, and copies of general information and resources handed out during activities are available for download.

The following artist ‘spotlights’ were presented during the event.

The power of STEAM

Geoffrey Drake-Brockman 

About the presentation:
Geoffrey Drake-Brockman's art practice is characterised by robotic and optical technologies incorporated into large-scale installations and sculptural works that have been exhibited in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Singapore, Denmark, New York, and London.
His public art commissions include the robotic sculpture Totem at the Perth Arena, Readwrite at the NEXTDC Data Centre in Malaga, and Spiral at the Western Australian Police Headquarters. Geoffrey studied Computer Science at The University of Western Australia before completing a Master's degree in Visual Arts at Curtin University.
During his presentation, Geoffrey provided examples of his work which combines gothic horror themes with the politics of social determination through technology, and commonplace metaphors such as clockwork music boxes, flower-pots (Floribots, image 1-right), doorways, origami shapes, and portrait relief.

Contact the artist:

Opportunities for STEAM education in the Secondary classroom

Gary Cass
About the presentation:
Gary Cass, aka The Crazy Scientist, has a philosophy grounded in the idea that creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy. Attendees were provided with an overview of his creative science programs which include; Fermented Fashion – the first dresses in the world designed from the bacterial fermentation of wine and beer, a mobile device app iDNAtity audio - making music from your genes, and microscopic crystal and bubble workshops.
Contact the presenter:
Gary Cass
Scientific Director
Crazy Scientist
Tel: (08) 9215 0700  

Scitech STEAM education program

Digital Microscopy and Planetarium 

About the presentation:
Using a digital microscope as a camera, attendees made a stop-animation film at 200 times magnification, exploring living things and their specialised functions and adaptations. Moving to the Planetarium, the group viewed a show reel of visualisations created by local Western Australian producers in conjunction with Scitech featuring stunning representations in Astronomy, Biology, and beyond.

Contact Scitech:
Professional Learning Team
Tel: (08) 9215 0700
School bookings
Tel: (08) 9215 0740


Western Australian public school teachers can continue the STEAM discussion online via the Department of Education’s CONNECT community. To access, search ‘STEAM – teaching STEM in and through the Arts’; enquiries about the CONNECT group can be emailed to facilitator Jacqueline Barber.

Further reading about STEAM and related topics:

The resources provided by the workshop artists and facilitators and made available here are to be used as a guide only. Teachers and artists should further investigate relevant material to inform the development of student activities and programs.

The views and opinions expressed in the videos are those of the presenters and not necessarily those of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries or ArtsEdge. The Department and ArtsEdge encourage viewers to also seek advice and information from relevant sources, including peak bodies and suitably qualified professionals.

Image credits:
Image 1: Floribots by Geoffrey Drake-Brockman 2005, National Gallery of Australia. Photograph courtesy of the artist.
Image 2: Image of slide from Gary Cass presentation. ArtsEdge STEAM professional learning event, Friday 19 June 2015. Photograph by ArtsEdge.
Image 3: Digital microscopy activity. ArtsEdge STEAM professional learning event, Friday 19 June 2015. Photograph by ArtsEdge.