Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reason 38 of 45 in Our 45 Day Countdown to the NEA RA's Adoption of the NEA FINE ARTS CAUCUS STE(A)M New Business Item

What is STE(A)M?

Who better than Elmo or Cookie Monster or the Count or Ernie and Bert could make learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fun for kids?  One strong argument for the STE(A)M movement revolves around making these subjects more "user-friendly."


When art meets science, technology, engineering and math.

In season 43 of Sesame Street, the show continues its focus on STEM education, adding the arts to the equation, creating STEAM. The cornerstone of the curriculum remains the connection between the four main domains: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but the updated approach integrates the arts. This helps make learning STEM concepts relevant and enticing to young children by highlighting how artists use STEM knowledge to enhance their art or solve problems. It also provides context for the importance of STEM knowledge in careers in the arts (e.g. musician, painter, sculptor and dancer).

In order for children to explore STEAM, it is important to highlight the underlying scientific process skills; observing and questioning, investigating, analyzing and reporting and reflecting on the “big idea.” These skills enable children to formulate thoughts into questions, solve problems and allow for the learning of new concepts and “big ideas” to become apparent and meaningful. It also helps make the connection between scientific (“Let’s find out.”) and innovative (“What if?”) thinking to clearly demonstrate that the arts can be used to inspire learning and teach STEM concepts.

As an extension of our STEAM curriculum, the show features “Elmo The Musical,” an exciting new segment and interactive experience. Each episode is a musical adventure created by Elmo and the child at home. Focusing on imagination and math skills, such as enumeration, relational concepts, addition/subtraction, geometric shapes and many more, Elmo takes viewers on thrilling explorations as he imagines himself in different scenarios and must use math to solve the various problems he encounters. Kids can sing, dance, play, problem solve and imagine along with Elmo on math-filled adventures.

Season 43 Elmo The Musical

“Elmo The Musical” is an exciting new segment premiering in Sesame Street’s 43rd season. An extension of our STEAM curriculum, each 11 minute episode is an interactive, fun-filled musical adventure created by Elmo and the child at home. Focusing on imagination and math skills, such as enumeration, relational concepts, addition/subtraction, geometric shapes and many more, Elmo takes viewers on thrilling explorations as he imagines himself in “Sea Captain The Musical,” “Guacamole The Musical,” “Prince Elmo The Musical” and even “President The Musical!” In “Elmo The Musical,” kids can sing, dance, play and imagine along with Elmo on math-filled adventures!

Select Episode Descriptions

Guacamole The Musical

Chef Explorer Elmo travels to Nacho Picchu and meets the Queen. The Queen is looking for a big dip
for her big tortilla chip and Elmo must deliver or else! The Rhombus of Recipes appears and tells Elmo that he has to sing, “We want guac!” and he will receive a recipe. Elmo sings and is led to the
Whistling Nose Garden to find 14 avocados, then to the Temple of Spoons to get three tablespoons of
onion. The bowl of avocadoes and onions transforms into guacamole. Measuring worked! Elmo gives the Queen of Nacho Picchu the guacamole to taste and she loves it.

Sea Captain The Musical

Sea Captain Elmo is on a ship that sets sail to find Moby Pink, a giant pink whale. With the help of eight chicken sailors, Elmo is off! As Elmo and the chickens begin to look for Moby Pink, a bottle flies into the boat and informs them that if they want to find Moby Pink, they must sail to the Bermuda Octagon, a shape with eight sides and eight angles. They come upon a shape, but count only three sides and three angles. It’s the Bermuda Triangle and not the Bermuda Octagon, so they keep looking. They come upon another shape and this time Elmo counts eight sides and eight angles and determines that it is the Bermuda Octagon. Elmo and the crew continue to sail and they finally find Moby Pink! She keeps rocking their boat and explains that she can’t stop because she has eight barnacles on her back that are making her itchy. Elmo suggests that they try to solve the problem by doing subtraction.

Pizza The Musical

Pizza Astronaut Elmo has to deliver a pizza to the Martians. So he takes off in his rocket, but makes a sharp turn and the pizza slices start flying out of the box. Velvet tells Elmo it’s because there is no gravity in space. When a star shoots straight into Elmo’s rocket and forms a hole, Elmo decides to use one slice of pizza to cover the hole and it works! He now only has three slices left! Elmo keeps going, but a space chicken in his spaceship is blocking his way and he traps Elmo in his laser beams. Elmo uses three pizza slices to cover the holes again. He stops the lasers and the spaceship flies away! Elmo realizes that he has zero slices left! The Martians don’t mind because they are thrilled to eat the empty pizza box instead.


The STEAM movement adds another powerful voice as SesameStreet begins to sing its praises: the iconic educational program has announced that its 43rd season will focus on integrating the Arts into its existing STEM focus, most specifically in a new 11-minute episodic segment called “Elmo the Musical.”
“Elmo the Musical” is an interactive, fun-filled adventure created by Elmo and the child at home. With lots of singing and dancing, Elmo uses his imagination and math skills, such as enumeration, relational concepts, addition/subtraction, and geometric shapes to solve problems. The STEAM-based learning will continue after each segment ends—Sesame Street is supplying children and their caregivers with exciting games and learning tools accessible on and mobile devices.

“Incorporating the arts into our STEM curriculum was an exciting and natural addition, as Sesame Street has always used music, visual and performing arts as tools to educate and entertain children,” says Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, SVP of Education and Research at Sesame Workshop. Converting STEM to STEAM on Sesame Street doesn’t stop with Elmo: celebrity appearances by Jon Hamm, Kristen Bell, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as well as favorite characters including Oscar, Rosita, and Abby Cadabby, will all contribute to the television show’s expanded STEAM curriculum.

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