top of page

3 STEM And Fine Arts Collaboration Ideas

To the right, there is text that says "3 STEM and Fine Ats Collaboration Ideas" with below it with a pink background with abstract teal shapes. To the left in the image, STEM is laid out on a table with circuits around it.

"STEAM"...the key word to education these days that includes STEM and Fine Arts. Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics. There are so many things that can be done with all these aspects of education. I am incredibly grateful to have Administration and educators that value these outlets and provide creativity in this realm of education. If you are looking for ways to incorporate STEM into the arts, look no further. Keep in mind, I'm going to be talking specifically about how Music was incorporated into these projects. Make sure to get with your subject matters that are interested and BRAINSTORM constantly - even brainstorm with core subjects too for cross curriculum involvement.

First, Things You May Need for STEM and Fine Arts Collaboration...

Makey Makey's

Image of class set makey makeys

If you are never played with Makey Makeys, or have never even heard of them, be prepared to be amazed.

They are essentially small computers that you can code to tell them what to do. It's pretty simple enough for me to understand (and I have zero coding background). The kits come with very involved lessons, but you can skim through them to figure out the system as a teacher pretty easily. If you are wanting to purchase them, click here.

This website is great for beginner coders. I would say 2nd/3rd graders and up can handle the coding aspect of simple actions within a classroom setting. Scratch is designed beautifully for color coded commands and an archive of sounds and actions that students can easily create within the coding platform.

Conductive Materials

Makey Makey has a lot of examples of projects and conductive materials for students to use and brainstorm with; aluminum foil, silverware, foods, play dough/clay, human body, etc. I can be very involved or not - depending on what you are looking for with whatever project.

How to Introduce Makey Makeys in the classroom:

I do a simple assignment for students to create a paper circuit using pencil lead. They just clip on the circuits to the paper where the pencil lead is and it can be an interactive paper with sounds or actions. As a music teacher, I have students draw out an instrument and then create circuits using the pencil lead to make the instrument interactive - pretty cool stuff. It's a simple enough lesson for them to have STEM and Fine Arts collaborate within the classroom on an introductory level.

Video Example of Makey Makey

Step 1:

Draw shapes and/or pictures, but make sure you also have a bold line going to the outside of the paper for the makey makey to clip

Step 2:

Now you will connect your Makey Makey to the computer, add the grounding cord, and connect the action buttons to the paper.

Step 3:

Now, you will make your Scratch account and create your sounds using Sound and Event categories only.

3 STEM and Fine Arts Collaboration Ideas List:

Make Arcade Cabinets

With my Middle School students and teacher team, we designed video arcade games from scratch (no pun intended). Here's how:

  1. My students created their video game composition project; creating their characters, scenes and composing their music. If you want to see the actual project, click here for the resources.

  2. Once done with the concept, we voted on the top 5 best video game concepts.

  3. These concepts were then passed to Gifted and Talented students and Art students.

  4. Gifted and Talented groups focused on video game design within and Makey Makey's. They had meetings with the Concept Creators regularly to make sure they were staying true to the original video game idea.

  5. Art classes focused on arcade cabinet build and design. They constructed and painted the cabinets. There was also a vote on who designed the cabinets within the art classes.

  6. The teachers met several times throughout the process to make sure we were all on the same page and helping each other out as best we could.

  7. The end result was simply amazing...

Make Playable Poster Board Instruments

For this project, I got with the STEM and Art teacher at the elementary school and we planned our project to be displayed at our STEAM Family Night (SO MUCH FUN!). Seriously, I work with awesome people!

  1. The art teacher had 5 different instruments, one for each grade. Every single student colored on the instrument - and they were absolutely beautiful and in how they were designed and how they literally represented every single student in the building.

  2. Myself (the music teacher) got on and had students either make sounds for the instruments or found sounds within the library on Scratch.

  3. STEM teacher showed the students how each instrument was going to be coded and coded it live in the classroom and talked about conducive materials and how the makey makeys work.

  4. We then cut out holes in the artwork and placed aluminum foil behind it to make the instruments interactive. We make the wires extended by making aluminum foil wires that were wrapped in painters tape (so it wouldn't interfere with other circuits).

  5. Then we make Hand Prints with aluminum foil and connected it to the Makey Makey for the grounding.

  6. The night of the event, everything was connected to computers and bluetooth speakers (because they needed to be loud enough to hear over large amounts of people talking).

  7. It was magical to see students come up to an instrument and try to make their own about awesome.

Below are some videos I took in the process and the final product:

Create Musical Toys

For this idea, I used Makey Makey and Scratch. 7th grade students learned all about the design of musical toys for early childhood development. I have the full lesson here if you are interested.

  1. We did a full several days of learing about music therapy, gross/fine motor skills, speech development and so forth.

  2. From that information, we learned about some musical toys used for child development - why buttons to push, why certain songs, why hard vs. soft toys, etc.

  3. I introduced the Makey Make to the students and did the basic lesson that I showed you up above in the first series of videos with circuits on paper.

  4. I went to Goodwill/Dollar Tree and bought stuffed animals, silverware, foil, pots/pans, whisks, etc.

  5. Students had opportunity, in groups, to take apart toys, create conductive tools for the toys, etc and then coded and inserted the makey makeys into the toys to make them interactive with their sounds.

  6. Each group also made a presentation (from a template I created) to explain their toy and why it was designed the way it was.

  7. At the end of the class period, I let students go around and play with the toys and experience the joy of being a little kid.

This one is definitely one of my favorite lessons with my Music Technology class. So many outlets of creativity!

Hope this helped you find STEM and Fine Arts Collaboration ideas and inspire creativity across different curriculums!

For more inspiration, make sure to check out:


bottom of page