Georgette Baker

E.S.T.E.A.M.

(Exploring Science Technology Engineering Art & Math)

ART WORKSHOPS AND BOOTCAMPS 2019

Presented by Georgette Baker

I am an Atlanta based artist teaching art workshops in my art studio, summer camps and other locations. E.S.T.E.A.M Workshops were borne out of a need to create special events for youngsters that combine art and learning with fun, logic and problem solving. The commercially available super heroes and comic strip characters do not offer a learning feature and are quite expensive. Another concern was possible intellectual property and copyright infringement issues. When I didn’t find what I needed, I created a format that addressed my objectives and budget.

The title “E.S.T.E.A.M Workshops draw inspiration from the word esteem, a value by which an individual measures or views oneself. I used this term because our young students desperately need to engage in activities that build them up and reinforce positive behaviors.

There are three levels of problem-solving that participants must complete before they enter an E.S.T.E.A.M Laboratory, the first of which is a code word to enter the front door to get inside. The second and third levels consist of exercises like a mystery question or puzzle. After completing these challenges, they sign in; get ID cards, t-shirts and personalized notebooks. They are ready to enter the “lab”.  

Art, which is the conscious creation of something beautiful or meaningful using skill and imagination, helps to develop abstract thinking skills for subjects like physics, math and biology.

It has been my experience that when kids learn to think creatively, they develop increased self confidence and an eagerness to articulate and share ideas. They are willing to work in a group to problem solve. These skills are important for self-advocacy and social development. By allowing young minds the freedom to explore, discover and create, these workshops develop critical thinking, creative self expression and improved social skills.

The ideas and suggestions presented below, along with photos from recent workshops in my studio give an idea of the possibilities.

*Explored LED Smart Lighting Technology using a smart phone to remotely program and combine different colors of lighting

*Tested electrical conductivity and safety of various materials by forming a human chain to see how the current could be carried or interrupted by grasping or letting go of each other’s hands

Tested electrical conductivity of materials: aluminum foil, wood, water and rubber erasers

*Built a double helix DNA using Twizzlers and jelly beans

*Created a version of litmus paper to send secret codes to each other in plain sight

These and many other ideas for E-S-T-E-A-M workshops can be easily adapted for:

·        groups up to 20 at a time, grouped similarly by age or gender

·        The artwork might be anything from, “Make & Take,” to a collaborative project that everyone works over an extended time

·        A student exhibit – complete with an opening reception with light refreshments to introduce students to the concept of presenting their ideas to wider audiences