Icon for: Brad Hughes


University of California, Irvine, Segerstrom Center For the Arts, Orange County Department of Education

ESCAPE: Equitable Science Curriculum integrating Arts in Public Education

NSF Awards: 1321343

2016 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6

ESCAPE (Equitable Science Curriculum integrating Arts in Public Education) is a multi-year teacher PD program with a rigorous research component. Developed by scientists, educators, and artists, this STEAM program is demonstrating how the arts can invigorate science education in K-12 classrooms. The science curricula developed—Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science—has been designed to include both Science Inquiry and VAPA (Visual Arts and Performing Arts) lessons. These pedagogical methods work together to create curricula that embodies cognition, lowering affective filters, and reducing cognitive load about high science concepts. In the process, ESCAPE is implementing the NGSS standards and reversing common science misconceptions. The lessons are captured in Ultra HD and are being redesigned into dynamic online courses for extended accessibility and sustainability. ESCAPE researchers are also comparing the learning outcomes between lesson methods, Science Inquiry versus VAPA.
The principal investigator Brad Hughes, Ph.D., the director of science education and media for UCI’s Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences, mentioned, “In our highly technological world, it’s more important than ever that school children learn scientific concepts, and integrating disciplines may be an important key to improving science learning. Our hypotheses examine how integrating the arts and inquiry into core elementary school curricula in the form of dance, movement, and visual arts may improve the learning of abstract scientific concepts along with the accompanying academic language.”

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