What’s STEAM? Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math education. In this feature I would like to mention some aspect of one of those topics, or review a book about one of them.
Today I substituted at the same school where I did STEM Friday last month, and it was another STEM Friday! The students were still learning about the forces of flight (lift, thrust, gravity, and drag.) I read the second graders a book about helicopters, and they filled in a Venn diagram of airplanes, helicopters, and Harrier jets. When my half-day was over, they were watching a video about how helicopters fly. The book said that Leonardo Da Vinci designed a helicopter in the 15th century, but never built one. I wasn’t able to see the students’ experiment, but I found a cool DIY Da Vinci Helicopter that would be fun for a class to make.
And what of Doctor Who? This Saturday is the 50th anniversary of the British science fiction show Doctor Who, my favorite TV show, so why not tie it in this week? It often uses science and the arts to explore its’ main theme: the human condition. Basically, the Doctor is a human-looking alien who travels time and space having adventures. There is a scene in the 1979 episode “City of Death” where the Doctor goes to meet his friend Leonardo Da Vinci, and find out why there are counterfeit versions of Mona Lisa in 1979. Here is a clip from the BBC where the Doctor uses Da Vinci’s mirror writing: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01h9931. I’m not certain if British kids watching Doctor Who grew up (or will grow up) to be scientists or engineers or doctors, like American kids and Star Trek, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Happy 50th, Doctor Who!
Image source: Wired ( cited: Manuscript B, folio 83 v., Courtesy of Biblioteca Ambrosiana)