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21st-century learning a-buzz: Integrating and assessing an arts-centred STEAM approach to learning with apsicopes (beehives) in two Aotearoa intermediate classrooms

Carrie Vander Zwaag

Integrated STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) has been shown to effectively foster global competencies as well as school and societal engagement for 21st century learners of diverse backgrounds. However, facilitating quality STEAM teaching and learning can be challenging for teachers, particularly in the area of subject integration and assessment. This is especially true in communities where value is placed on standardised testing and traditional single-subject forms of monitoring, measuring, and reporting on student knowledge. This article responds to the challenge for researchers and educators to develop novel approaches for authentic, integrated STEAM teaching and learning. We share the story of STEAM teaching and learning from within Aotearoa New Zealand’s first apiscope—living beehive—classrooms as teachers implement an innovative arts-centred STEAM teaching and learning approach to learning about bees. In this context, an unusual collaborative journey of students, teachers, researchers, and experts (scientist, beekeepers, artists) unfolds as they grapple with how best to integrate and assess STEAM teaching and learning that responds to students’ strengths and interests.

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