There are many ways that the Art of Science Learning manifests at our different institutions. This is my
story, and one example of what this can look like.
The concept of art and science integration became a laboratory for two institutions located in San
Francisco, located right across the street from each other. Education staff at the California Academy
of Sciences and the de Young Museum, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, explored
the connection of art and science through the similarity between common themes, the process of
development, the way information is conveyed, and the ideas portrayed in science and art. After this
rich exploration these two museums took on a new partner, one that had a direct impact on the local
educational community: the San Francisco Unified School District.
Over the last year the San Francisco Unified School District, the California Academy of Sciences and the
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco partnered with teachers throughout the district to develop lessons
and implement a new teaching pedagogy that builds literacy skills through the integration of science and
The main goal of this ongoing program is to increase educator confidence in teaching content and process
skills within science and art. We also want to increase student interest in learning, making school time
more enjoyable and rewarding. If children are doing something interesting and meaningful, they are
more likely to want to write about it; in turn, these students are increasing their proficiency with academic
language. This unique combination of left and right brain activities makes learning accessible to all
students, and we are seeing evidence of this helping to reduce the achievement gap.
Due to the focus on language arts and math after No Child Left Behind, time for science and art in schools
was dramatically reduced in classrooms around the country. Our program gave teachers integration
strategies to teach both art and science simultaneously, increasing teaching time for both.
By applying 21st Century skills to the integration of art and science, teachers, students, and museum
staff have the opportunity to see the amazing connections between these two disciplines. Learners are
expanding their understanding of the skills by using them in this cross-disciplinary approach while
they are engaged through different modes of learning. Learners have more choice on how to access the
concepts, how to communicate their understanding, and are successful in their unique approach to these
ideas. This integrated approach to learning promotes teachers and students to explore the cognitive
processes of artists and scientists.
In order to help prepare our students for future careers, we are creating an integrated approach in
collaboration with teachers that is building a foundation of skills and applying them to the fields of
science and art. Our teacher professional development program, called SLANT (Science, Literacy, and
Art, iNtegration in the Twenty-first century), provides a powerful professional development model that
uses research and reflection to bring creativity back to the classroom and to inspire student-driven inquiry.
In summary, I am excited that the Art of Science Learning conferences allow us the opportunity to hear
others’ stories of success, and I look forward to hearing stories from you about creative projects around