Arts Integration

Middle SchoolHigh SchoolElementary Education

This activity is intended for children/youth and requires no additional cost.

Intervention Overview

Arts Integration has been defined as an “arts-based approach to teaching and learning” (LaJevic, 2013, p. 2). Arts Integration gives students an opportunity to learn and practice content through meaningful and creative projects, such as acting out the concept, creating posters, or sketching examples of vocabulary terms (McCartney et al., 2017). According to Peppler and Davis (2010), the arts provide students with new opportunities to consider different perspectives and approaches to learning outcomes. Specifically with STEM concepts, arts integration can help increase students’ zest towards learning(McCartney et al., 2017).

Intervention Guide

Grade Level: All
Materials: Art supplies (paper, posters, markers, paint, etc.)
Duration: Varies

This is an example of the implementation of arts integration in a science classroom for one unit, which can help provide some guidelines as you develop arts integration for your own classroom (McCartney et al., 2017).

  1. Have students act out predictions of what will be in the book or chapter they will be studying.
  2. Create a flipbook glossary with sketches and collages to show what the words mean.
  3. Create posters to illustrate main ideas.
  4. Have students express their view of the material with pop-up cards displaying their emotion or opinion of the topic.
  5. Have students create a final art product to represent what they have learned.

Does it work?

In a study done by McCartney et al. (2017), educators integrated science with arts activities such as acting out their prediction and creating a collage, poster, and pop-up card. As a result of arts integration, the second and third graders learned the science just as well as they would in the control condition, while the fifth graders learned and retained the information better in the experimental condition (McCartney et al., 2017, p. 88). Arts integration also helped students stay engaged and spend more time on task (McCartney et al., 2017, p. 95).

Another study interviewed adolescent students following a whole-school arts integration intervention to understand how the intervention improved their learning and engagement (Anderson et al., 2019). Arts were integrated into every subject in the two middle schools observed. In an English Language Arts class, students create tableau vivants, or “living pictures,” to represent key scenes in a novel they were reading. In a science class, students create models of different molecules and elements making up human anatomy. Students in a math class learned about math anxiety and created geometric, three dimensional, “math anxiety monsters.” A few students described that these arts activities allowed them to experience a flow state of heightened engagement. Over a quarter of the participants responded that arts integration increased their motivation and enjoyment in their classes. It was found that arts integration improved students' sense of individuality, expression, autonomy and creativity (Anderson et al., 2019).


Anderson, R., Haney, M., Pitts, C., Porter, L. & Bousselot, T. (2019). Mistakes can be beautiful: Creative engagement in arts integration for early adolescent learners. Journal of Creative Behavior, 54(3), 662-675.

LaJevic, L. (2013). Arts integration: What is really happening in the elementary classroom? Journal for Learning through the Arts, 9(1). 

McCartney, E., Mochal, C., Boyd, V., Rule, A. C., & Montgomery, S. E. (2017). Reading nonfiction science literature with and without arts integration. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions, 2(2), 74-99. 

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