BELLFLOWER – Frank E Woodruff Elementary third-grader Amani Cobb slid the quarter-sized magnet along the back of the cardboard page, using its power to swiftly guide a paper clip on the front side through the twists of a brightly hued maze she designed in a special lesson meshing science, math and art.
“You go from the beginning through to the end,” Amani, 8 said. “Look at how it moves.”
At tables across the room, classmates raced their paper clips through a variety of crayon-crafted mazes – some using attraction, others repulsion – as they brought to life lessons on magnetism taught by Dramatic Results, a nonprofit agency that uses arts and crafts to provide gripping lessons on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to students in grades three through five.
Dramatic Results, which has worked with students at more than 40 public schools in California, Alaska and Oregon since 1992, has started an informal trial of its program at Bellflower Unified’s Frank E Woodruff Elementary School funded through grants from the Ahmanson Foundation and Hitachi, Ltd.
“We are so excited to have the Dramatic Results team being piloted on campus,” Principal Beverly Swanson said. “Their lessons are full of energy and the students seem to really respond to their creative approach.”
If the pilot effort proves successful, District leaders may consider expanding the program to additional campuses, using the same pilot process.
Dramatic Results teaching artist Maryam Husain said students respond strongly to the combination of science and art lessons based on the California Standards for each grade level.
“The goal is to bring not only science standards but also to incorporate arts as well,” Husain said. “We use multiple standards per lesson.”
The magnet lesson, for example, combined science lessons on attraction, repulsion and identifying a magnet’s “north” and “south” orientations with art lessons on use of color and lines.
For Woodruff’s fourth-graders, Dramatic Results is providing one of its most popular STEAM programs – “Math in a Basket” – in which students plan, design and create colorful reed baskets from scratch.
“We teach the art of basketry and basket weaving while utilizing math and engineering,” Husain said. “The students learn perimeter, surface area, volume, tools to use for accurately measuring certain objects, and then they create a basket.”
The program also teaches students about the cultural and functional history of basketry. The program even incorporates iPads to provide students an opportunity to experience 3D computer design effects.
Later this year, fifth-graders will get a chance to explore math concepts while learning the art of origami.
Dramatic Results, based in nearby Signal Hill, has won four Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination grants from the U.S. Dept. of Education, one of only four groups in California to do so.
“We’re excited to be working with a group of the caliber of Dramatic Results,” Superintendent Dr. Brian Jacobs said. “It’s critical to be able to convey these important lessons in STEAM subjects to students at the elementary level, and their program provides a fun and engaging way to do so.”
101916_BUSD_STEM_1: Anysha Read, 8, a third-grader at Bellflower Unified’s Woodruff Elementary School, shows Dramatic Results teaching artist Maryam Husain how she can guide a paperclip through a hand-drawn maze by manipulating a magnet along the back of a thin sheet of cardboard on Oct. 13.
101916_BUSD_STEM_2: Amani Cobb, 8, a third-grader at Bellflower Unified’s Woodruff Elementary School, uses a quarter-sized magnet to guide a paperclip through a colorful maze during a lesson blending art and science on Oct. 13.