Traditionally, science and art are not combined as an instructional method in the undergraduate biology laboratory. This research examined the differences in the construction of biology content knowledge in student work in an inquiry-based lab and in an inquiry- and arts-based lab. The qualitative research findings indicated that the students developed deeper understanding of the content knowledge when an arts-based instructional method (storytelling) was included as part of the inquiry-based instruction.

Introduction

Science and art were historically accepted as a complementary pair (Lindqvist et al., 2000). Leonardo Da Vinci was both an artist and a scientist. His anatomical drawings of the body exhibit his artistic and scientific genius. His inquiry into scientific fact cannot be dissected from his corresponding expression of science through his creation of art. Researchers have documented that the integration of arts is effective in teaching all content areas of education (Davis, 2008; Greene, 1984, 2000; Ruppert, 2006), but art is not currently accepted as a viable teaching method in science classrooms (Gurung et al., 2009).

As biology instructor in a freshman level biology lab, I was curious about the influence of arts integration through storytelling on the ability of students to construct biology content knowledge. I designed a qualitative research study on biology curriculum and instruction integrated with an arts-based component of storytelling. I conducted the research within the biology laboratory sections I was teaching. My research question was: How does an inquiry-and arts-based (IAB) biology laboratory curriculum influence students’ comprehension of content knowledge when compared to an inquiry-based (IB) laboratory curriculum? The purpose of this study was to determine if the integration of the arts into the biology content and laboratory curriculum and instruction would have any influence on the way students were able to construct biology content knowledge.

Great scientists have long promoted the value of art as a component of science. Albert Einstein stated, “I'm enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited; imagination encircles the world” (Viereck, 1930, p. 446). Max Planck (1949), father of quantum theory, proposed that pioneering scientists “must have a vivid intuitive imagination, for new ideas are not generated by deduction, but by an artistically creative imagination” (p. 109). Victor Weisskopf (1979), a respected theoretical physicist, stated, “Every true work of art transforms and molds a complex of many varied impressions, ideas or emotions, into one unique entity; it compresses a great variety of internal or external perceptions into a single creation” (p. 100). The creation of an artistic interpretation of science is the creation of scientific meaning.

Educational researchers have advocated for the integration of arts into content area instruction. Davis (2008) stated, “The value of the arts in education is clear and non-negotiable” (p. 7). The benefits of the arts in education are well researched. When the arts are utilized in education students show improved representation of meaning (Davis, 1999; Freedman, 2000), a more in-depth understanding of content knowledge (Weisskopf, 1979), and personal passion and a greater work ethic (Harrison, 2002) In addition, the inclusion of the arts in education gives students an increased appreciation for the diverse backgrounds and knowledge representations of others (Rifa-Valls, 2009) and improvement of the students’ connection of knowledge to a global perspective (Cawthon et al., 2011).

Theoretical Framework

Storytelling in the science classroom has been encouraged by respected scientists such as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, theoretical physicist Brian Greene, and chemist Dudley Herschbach. Herschbach, who won the 1986 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, has called for liberal arts and sciences to include stories, which he calls “parables,” in science lecture-based classes. Herschbach (1996) stated, “By presenting science in a more humanistic mode, these parables can disarm fears, reveal a much broader context for nominally familiar concepts, and even induce students to relate the tales to others” (p. 15). Using storytelling to communicate science concepts helps students better understand the content, but also encourages them to feel comfortable enough with their knowledge of the material to relate it to others by retelling or creating their own stories. Having a student confidently and spontaneously sharing complex scientific knowledge would be a novel occurrence in most biology laboratories nationwide.

Storytelling involves oral presentation, not just of facts, but of interesting information based on the environment and experience of the storyteller (Haven, 2000; McElroy, 2007). Storytelling in a science classroom takes the abstract facts of the science content and constructs a personal connection to relationships within the content and concrete pictures for the student to understand. McElroy (2007) stated, “Storytelling does not present straightforward factual information, but rather information within a cultural and experiential context” (p. 131). For example, the abstract concept of the electron transport system in cellular respiration can be communicated as a story about the journey of a group of electrons as they travel through various protein landscapes in order to help with the creation of ATP. Martin and Brouwer (1991) suggested that the use of narrative and storytelling is appropriate and effective in the science classroom; “The story can at times communicate in a few words that which a dense, technical analysis might require many lines to accomplish” (p. 708).

Knox and Croft (1997) utilized storytelling as pedagogy in an atmospheric science laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. Knox and Croft concluded that the use of storytelling in this classroom helped students to contextually relate information, make a connection between the content and culture, follow appropriate research protocol in meteorological research, connect mathematical processes to weather in real life, and help keep students engaged and interested in the difficult and abstract science content. They concluded, “the results of the storytelling experiment, from the view of the students who participated, were uniformly positive” (p. 903).

Methodology

The research site for this study was the undergraduate freshman-level biology laboratory at a small liberal arts university in the southwestern United States. The research was conducted during the weekly three-hour biology laboratory that took place over a period of one semester. The participants were enrolled in one of the four sections of the biology laboratory class. In three of the sections of the biology laboratory, the teacher/researcher implemented an inquiry-based (IB) biology curriculum, and in one of the sections, the teacher/researcher implemented an inquiry- and arts-based biology curriculum (IAB). One IB section was chosen as the source of the comparative data due to its similarity in number of participants and demographics of the participants. The IAB lab section included 25 total students (8 male, 17 female), and the IB lab section included 26 total students (9 males, 17 females). Each of the sections was comprised of freshman-level undergraduates similar in age and gender distribution. The inquiry portion of the curriculum was adapted from 40 Inquiry Exercises for the College Biology Lab by A. Daniel Johnson (2009). The arts-based component of the lab was the teacher/researcher's original curriculum based upon storytelling as a form of communicating content knowledge. To ensure equal biology content in the IB and IAB laboratory curricula, each curriculum was evaluated for equity of content by a supervising faculty member with a PhD in Biology. The topic of the laboratory in which the research was conducted was enzymes. In the IB lab, the biology content was delivered to students through a short video about the basics of enzyme function, and then the students completed an inquiry-based lab activity. In the IAB lab section, the biology content of the lab was delivered to students by way of a fictional story written by the teacher/researcher, and the students completed an inquiry-based laboratory exercise identical to what the IB lab completed, with the addition of a student story-writing component to further integrate the arts. A sample of the fictional story written by the researcher and read to the IAB lab section is included here; some of the characters were based of a popular young adult novel at the time.

The day Bella met Edward was magic. They gazed at each other in awe and knew they were a perfect fit. They were meant to be together. The spent a romantic evening getting to know each other and after that, they realized they fit together like peanut butter and jelly. Edward and Bella became closer and closer until it was difficult to tell one from the other. The evening was over too soon. Bella looked at Edward and realized he had changed; their love had changed him forever. Edwards was no longer Type A, he had changed to a Type B personality. Edward left Bella with a new sense of purpose in his life. He had to go, forever, and he left Bella alone, but Bella was not sad because she knew she had fulfilled her most satisfying purpose in life, she had helped someone change for the better. (Cross, 2014)

The data for the research was considered extant data, since the research analysis occurred after the semester ended. However, the researcher obtained approval for gathering and using extant data from the IRB board at the research site to ensure ethical research practices.

Qualitative research was the best fit for this study because of its naturalistic setting, the instructor as a participant observer, and the open-ended research questions (Denzin, 2001; Erlandson et al., 1993; Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Qualitative research design requires open-ended research questions (Erlandson et al., 1993) such as, “How does an inquiry- and arts-based (IAB) biology laboratory curriculum influence students’ comprehension of content knowledge when compared to an inquiry-based (IB) laboratory curriculum?” This type of question is best answered by research that can reach beyond statistics and grades to investigate how the students comprehend the content knowledge. Therefore, qualitative methodology was better suited for a question such as this. This study investigated how an IAB laboratory exercise influences student content knowledge when compared with a purely IB laboratory exercise. Rossman and Rallis (2011) suggested that when researching new types of instructional methods, a qualitative design is appropriate. The IAB curriculum model is a new type of instructional method, and again, this fits with a qualitative approach.

The dual role of the teacher as the researcher and the naturalistic environment in which the study was performed also fit with a qualitative methodology (Erlandson et al., 1993). Denzin (2001) spoke of the qualitative researcher as “historically and locally situated within the very processes being studied” (p. 325). The bias or theoretical sensitivity (Glaser, 1978) of the researcher as the teacher of the lab sections and as a graduate student studying science curriculum and instruction is key to the methodology, implementation, and analysis of the data. The lens of the researcher, through which data was analyzed, was directly influenced by her knowledge of educational research findings (Herschbach, 1996; McElroy, 2007; Knox & Croft, 1997), which indicate that student content knowledge can be improved through incorporating arts-based instructional methods. This research was part of the researcher's personal quest to investigate and improve her personal teaching efficacy and to test some of the implications of educational research findings about including storytelling in the science curriculum.

Data analysis was directly linked to the time and place of the research. The student development of knowledge in the place of the undergraduate biology laboratory and at the time of their preparation for future science academic achievement was relevant to the research. Strauss and Corbin (1994) stated, “knowledge is, after all, linked closely with time and place” (p. 276). The data for this study was interwoven with the time and place that it was collected.

Data Sources

The data sources used for this research included student artifacts, the teacher/researcher participant observation notes, and the teacher/research's reflective research journal. These data sources were used to establish credibility for a qualitative, grounded theory, naturalistic study (Denzin & Lincoln, 2011; Erlandson et al., 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln & Guba, 1985).

Eight different student-created artifacts were collected as student work and data artifacts during the time of the laboratory. The first week of the enzyme lab included a (1) pre-test, (2) laboratory exercise, (3) post-test, and (4) journal entry. From the second week the data collected included a (5) pre-test, (6) laboratory report/presentation, (7) post-test, and (8) journal entry. Each of these data sources was specifically chosen to create a body of evidence to examine the construction of student knowledge based upon their laboratory experiences. The identical pre- and post-tests asked open-ended questions to allow the students to write about their knowledge of and use vocabulary related to enzymes and their function before and after the instruction. An example of a pre-test question was, “How does temperature, pH, and substrate and enzyme concentration affect enzyme activity?” The students were graded on this question using the following rubric in Table 1.

Table 1.
Example grading rubric for pre-/post-test.
Level of UnderstandingDescription
Mastery Student describes effectively the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and specifically uses the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can specifically describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and then leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Meets expectations Student describes generally the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and specifically uses the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can generally describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and may or may not accurately describe the leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Guidance needed Student describes partially the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and may or may not use the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can partially describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and may or may not accurately describe the leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Intervention needed Student is unable to describe the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and does not use or incorrectly uses the vocab word “denature.” The student cannot describe or describes inaccurately the activity of the enzyme being affected by concentration of either enzyme or substrate. 
Level of UnderstandingDescription
Mastery Student describes effectively the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and specifically uses the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can specifically describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and then leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Meets expectations Student describes generally the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and specifically uses the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can generally describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and may or may not accurately describe the leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Guidance needed Student describes partially the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and may or may not use the vocabulary word “denature.” The student can partially describe the activity of the enzyme increasing with either enzyme or substrate concentration increasing, and may or may not accurately describe the leveling off of activity as substrate is used up. 
Intervention needed Student is unable to describe the effect of pH and temperature on enzymes, and does not use or incorrectly uses the vocab word “denature.” The student cannot describe or describes inaccurately the activity of the enzyme being affected by concentration of either enzyme or substrate. 

Data Analysis

The data artifacts were examined within the framework of the research question to specifically examine the students’ comprehension of the content of the laboratory concepts. Emergent themes arising from the data analysis of the student artifacts were documented in the researcher's reflective journal. Data was analyzed for emergent themes using grounded theory's constant comparative method (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998; Erlandson et al., 1993; Glaser & Strauss, 1967). For example, Table 2 displays the emergent themes from the data analysis and examples of student work from the pre-/post-tests.

Table 2.
Pre- and post-test categories, definitions, and examples.
CategoryDefinitionExample Pre-test Student ResponseExample Post-test Student Response
Increased student content/
vocabulary between pre-test and post-test 
The student's pre-test answer was vague and used little appropriate vocabulary, and the post-test showed an increase in understanding of the content knowledge or more appropriate use of science vocabulary. “They have different affects which can help speed up the process.” “Temp has the ability to increase the enzymatic activity but as the temp passes a certain limit it will denature the enzymes. The pH depends on acids usually decreases enzymatic activity.” 
Misconception on pre-test and fixed misconception on post-test The student's pre-test answer was a misconception about the content, the post-test answer was accurate content information. “Enzymes speed up the rate of reactions by adding something to them.” “Enzymes act as catalysts by increasing the rate of a chemical reaction.” 
Content accurate pre-test and post-test answer The responses were content accurate on both pre-test and post-test. “If the temperature and pH are too high, it can effect the ability of the substrate to bind to the enzyme.” “The higher the temperature and pH, the enzyme is more likely to stop working.” 
Misconception on pre-test and misconception on post-test The responses were inaccurate on both pre-test and post-test. “The substrate that requires the assistance of an enzyme binds to the active site and it then [was] acted upon by the enzyme to form the new byproduct of that specific enzymatic reaction.” “The substrate binds to the active site of the enzyme, the substrate then goes through hydrolysis and the products of the hydrolased enzyme is two separate monomers.” 
Content accurate pre-test and misconception on post-test The pre-test responses showed understanding of the content, and the post-test showed a misconception about the content. “They speed up chemical reactions.” “Enzymes can break down or be a catalyst.” 
CategoryDefinitionExample Pre-test Student ResponseExample Post-test Student Response
Increased student content/
vocabulary between pre-test and post-test 
The student's pre-test answer was vague and used little appropriate vocabulary, and the post-test showed an increase in understanding of the content knowledge or more appropriate use of science vocabulary. “They have different affects which can help speed up the process.” “Temp has the ability to increase the enzymatic activity but as the temp passes a certain limit it will denature the enzymes. The pH depends on acids usually decreases enzymatic activity.” 
Misconception on pre-test and fixed misconception on post-test The student's pre-test answer was a misconception about the content, the post-test answer was accurate content information. “Enzymes speed up the rate of reactions by adding something to them.” “Enzymes act as catalysts by increasing the rate of a chemical reaction.” 
Content accurate pre-test and post-test answer The responses were content accurate on both pre-test and post-test. “If the temperature and pH are too high, it can effect the ability of the substrate to bind to the enzyme.” “The higher the temperature and pH, the enzyme is more likely to stop working.” 
Misconception on pre-test and misconception on post-test The responses were inaccurate on both pre-test and post-test. “The substrate that requires the assistance of an enzyme binds to the active site and it then [was] acted upon by the enzyme to form the new byproduct of that specific enzymatic reaction.” “The substrate binds to the active site of the enzyme, the substrate then goes through hydrolysis and the products of the hydrolased enzyme is two separate monomers.” 
Content accurate pre-test and misconception on post-test The pre-test responses showed understanding of the content, and the post-test showed a misconception about the content. “They speed up chemical reactions.” “Enzymes can break down or be a catalyst.” 

In addition, the student-designed laboratory experiment artifacts were examined and compared with the researcher's observation and analysis of the experiments, and only two themes emerged: either the students could effectively create a laboratory experiment based upon their knowledge of enzymes and laboratory procedures, or they could not. Table 3 summarizes this information and gives an example of an effective and ineffective student-designed laboratory experiment.

Table 3.
Examples of efficacy in student experimental design.
CategoryDescriptionExample
Effective Students showed understanding of how enzymes work; specifically, they were able to include an enzyme and substrate in their design. Students understood that the addition of the variable had to be appropriate for the type of experiment they were doing. “Compared lactase and ONPG as substrates. Good design, used lactase and ONPG in one tube vs. ONPG in the other.”
Researcher's observation of student experimental design and implementation.
The students had to understand what the substrate and enzyme were, and they chose to compare the activity of the enzyme between two different substrates.
Researcher's analysis of student's work
Ineffective Students did not understand the content from the first laboratory, specifically, how enzymes work with substrates. They chose inappropriate substances to be tested and made severe errors in the implementation of their experiment, which led to faulty results. “There is a terrible lack of detail in how the experiment worked. The group did not record the exact amounts of anything they added into the test tubes.”
Researcher's observation of student experimental design and implementation.
This group randomly chose a substance they thought would affect enzyme activity. They did not understand that enzymes only bind to the substrate, and the alcohol would not influence the activity of the enzyme. Lacking understanding of spectrometer, the group took readings on a tube with two distinct layers of density, resulting in inaccurate readings from the spectrometer.
Researcher's analysis of student's work
CategoryDescriptionExample
Effective Students showed understanding of how enzymes work; specifically, they were able to include an enzyme and substrate in their design. Students understood that the addition of the variable had to be appropriate for the type of experiment they were doing. “Compared lactase and ONPG as substrates. Good design, used lactase and ONPG in one tube vs. ONPG in the other.”
Researcher's observation of student experimental design and implementation.
The students had to understand what the substrate and enzyme were, and they chose to compare the activity of the enzyme between two different substrates.
Researcher's analysis of student's work
Ineffective Students did not understand the content from the first laboratory, specifically, how enzymes work with substrates. They chose inappropriate substances to be tested and made severe errors in the implementation of their experiment, which led to faulty results. “There is a terrible lack of detail in how the experiment worked. The group did not record the exact amounts of anything they added into the test tubes.”
Researcher's observation of student experimental design and implementation.
This group randomly chose a substance they thought would affect enzyme activity. They did not understand that enzymes only bind to the substrate, and the alcohol would not influence the activity of the enzyme. Lacking understanding of spectrometer, the group took readings on a tube with two distinct layers of density, resulting in inaccurate readings from the spectrometer.
Researcher's analysis of student's work

Results

This research study examined the student's development of content knowledge in the IAB and IB laboratory sections. The development of the content knowledge of each student was traced throughout two weeks of collected student artifacts, my own observations of the students in the lab setting, and my researcher's journal. The emergent themes pertaining to content knowledge from the student artifacts, my observations, and the researcher's journal have been summarized in Table 4.

Table 4.
Emergent themes about content grouped by lab section and data source.
IAB Content KnowledgeIB Content Knowledge
Pre-test and Post-test
  1. IAB helped students resolve misconceptions. (38% of student responses showed fixed misconceptions between pre- and post-test)

  2. IAB did not cause any additional misconceptions. (0% of student responses changed from a good content accurate answer on the pre-test to a misconception on the post-test)

  3. IAB greatly increased student's ability to write more in-depth about the content or use more appropriate vocabulary words. (53% of student responses showed an increase in content and appropriate vocabulary use)

 
Pre-test and Post-test
  1. IB helped students resolve some misconceptions. (25% of student responses showed a fixed misconception between pre- and post-test)

  2. IB caused some students to have misconceptions. (24% of student responses changed from a good content-accurate answer on the pre-test to a misconception on the post-test)

  3. IB slightly increased student's ability to write more in-depth about the content or use more appropriate vocabulary words. (16% of student responses showed an increase in content/appropriate vocabulary use)

 
Lab Exercise 2
83% of students were able to effectively design a new experiment based on their content knowledge from the previous week. 
Lab Exercise 2
50% of students were able to effectively design a new experiment based on their content knowledge from the previous week. 
Student Journals
All of the students in the IAB lab wrote in their journals that the story and the models helped them to better understand the content knowledge. 
Student Journals.
No applicable information about content knowledge in journal entries. 
Observations
  1. IAB lab had a greater number of students conversing about the content.

  2. It was easier for me to discuss the content with the IAB lab because I could refer to characters and relationships in the story about enzymes.

 
Observations
  1. IB lab had a fewer number of students conversing about the content.

  2. It was more difficult for me to discuss the content with the IB lab because I had to continually reiterate the content.

 
Researcher's Journal
Students developed an in-depth content knowledge, and were able to resolve misconceptions about the content. 
Researcher's Journal
Students developed some content knowledge, but were unable to resolve misconceptions about the content. 
IAB Content KnowledgeIB Content Knowledge
Pre-test and Post-test
  1. IAB helped students resolve misconceptions. (38% of student responses showed fixed misconceptions between pre- and post-test)

  2. IAB did not cause any additional misconceptions. (0% of student responses changed from a good content accurate answer on the pre-test to a misconception on the post-test)

  3. IAB greatly increased student's ability to write more in-depth about the content or use more appropriate vocabulary words. (53% of student responses showed an increase in content and appropriate vocabulary use)

 
Pre-test and Post-test
  1. IB helped students resolve some misconceptions. (25% of student responses showed a fixed misconception between pre- and post-test)

  2. IB caused some students to have misconceptions. (24% of student responses changed from a good content-accurate answer on the pre-test to a misconception on the post-test)

  3. IB slightly increased student's ability to write more in-depth about the content or use more appropriate vocabulary words. (16% of student responses showed an increase in content/appropriate vocabulary use)

 
Lab Exercise 2
83% of students were able to effectively design a new experiment based on their content knowledge from the previous week. 
Lab Exercise 2
50% of students were able to effectively design a new experiment based on their content knowledge from the previous week. 
Student Journals
All of the students in the IAB lab wrote in their journals that the story and the models helped them to better understand the content knowledge. 
Student Journals.
No applicable information about content knowledge in journal entries. 
Observations
  1. IAB lab had a greater number of students conversing about the content.

  2. It was easier for me to discuss the content with the IAB lab because I could refer to characters and relationships in the story about enzymes.

 
Observations
  1. IB lab had a fewer number of students conversing about the content.

  2. It was more difficult for me to discuss the content with the IB lab because I had to continually reiterate the content.

 
Researcher's Journal
Students developed an in-depth content knowledge, and were able to resolve misconceptions about the content. 
Researcher's Journal
Students developed some content knowledge, but were unable to resolve misconceptions about the content. 

Within the emergent themes from the data, three key descriptive statistics indicate that the IAB lab enabled students to better connect with the content, express the content, and synthesize the content. First, when comparing the pre-test and the post-test student responses, 38 percent of the students in the IAB lab were able to successfully resolve their own misconceptions about the content on the post-test after experiencing the IAB lab, whereas in the IB lab, only 25 percent of the students were able to resolve misconceptions about the content, as illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Percentage of students able to resolve misconceptions on post-test.

Figure 1.

Percentage of students able to resolve misconceptions on post-test.

Second, as shown in Figure 2, 53 percent of students who participated in the IAB lab used more content-appropriate vocabulary on the post-test, whereas only 18 percent of the students in the IB lab were able to use content-appropriate vocabulary on the post-test.

Figure 2.

Post-test responses that showed an increase in appropriately used content vocabulary.

Figure 2.

Post-test responses that showed an increase in appropriately used content vocabulary.

Finally, 83 percent of students in the IAB laboratory section were able to successfully create an original experimental design based upon the content of the laboratory exercise, whereas in the IB laboratory section, only 50 percent of the students were able to design an experiment based upon the content from the laboratory exercise, as show in Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Students able to design a new experiment based on the content.

Figure 3.

Students able to design a new experiment based on the content.

Discussion of Findings

The findings of this research study indicated that the IAB curriculum was more effective than the IB curriculum in promoting the students’ construction of content knowledge and resolving misconceptions about the content. The inclusion of the arts component into the laboratory curriculum helped most students to understand the science content because students were able to use familiar ideas to anchor their knowledge and understanding. The findings of other researchers (Bradbury et al., 2013: Fels & Meyer, 1997: Kokkotas et al., 2010; Knox & Croft, 1997; Martin & Brouwer, 1991: McElroy, 2007: Noblit et al., 2008), which indicate that integrating the arts into science curriculum increases student science content knowledge, were supported and confirmed in this study. Additionally, the students in the IAB section also noted in their personal journals that this instructional strategy assisted them in learning the content knowledge.

Significance

Organizations such as the AAAS, NAS, NRC, and NSTA may find this research useful for creating new national standards for science teaching and recommendations for best practice. Science teachers at all levels may benefit from the description of constructing activities for integrating the arts into science curricula. Administrators and policy makers in science education could use this research study as an example of the need for design and implementation of professional development opportunities conducive to combining art and science, and to inspire administrators and policy makers to encourage and create funding opportunities for teaching that is inclusive of both science and art. Curriculum designers and authors of textbooks could use this study to help frame new curriculum theory and provide evidence for the inclusion of art into science curricula. This study creates a platform for continued research on how the arts and sciences can be combined. Future studies must identify the roles of inquiry and art as a unified curriculum and explore innovative methods of combining science and inquiry.

Recommendations and Conclusion

Based on the findings of this research, there is an epistemelological connection between the learning of science through art-based instruction. Professors and teachers of science need to reaffirm the historical and natural connection between art and science. From Leonardo Da Vinci's artistic and scientifically accurate anatomy sketches, to the storytelling of The Elegant Universe (Brian Greene, 1999), there is an undeniable natural and historical connection between science and art. The findings of this research indicate that the art and science connection should be a framework for future science curriculum and instruction.

References

References
Bogdan, R., & Biklen, S. K. (
1998
).
Qualitative Research for Education: An Introduction to Theory and Methods
(3rd ed.).
Boston
:
Allyn and Bacon
.
Bradbury, L., Frye, B., & Gross, L. (
2013
).
The Capture: Kidnapping students’ interests using the Guardians of Ga'Hoole
.
Science Activities
,
50
(
4
),
134
145
. doi:
Cawthon, S. W., Dawson, K., & Ihorn, S. (
2011
).
Activating student engagement through drama-based instruction
.
Journal for Learning through the Arts
,
7
(
1
). Retrieved from http://escholarship.org/uc/item/6qc4b7pt
Cross, C. J. (
2014
).
Connections between inquiry and art, incorporating art into an inquiry based science curriculum (Unpublished doctoral dissertation)
. Texas Tech University.
Davis, J. H. (
1999
).
Nowhere, somewhere, everywhere: The arts in education
.
Arts Education Policy Review
,
100
(
5
),
23
28
.
Davis, J. H. (
2008
).
Why Our Schools Need the Arts
.
New York
:
Teachers College Press
.
Denzin, N. K. (
2001
).
The seventh moment: Qualitative inquiry and the practices of a more radical sonsumer research
.
Journal of Consumer Research
,
28
(
2
),
324
330
.
Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (Eds.). (
2011
).
The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research
(4th ed.).
Thousand Oaks, CA
:
Sage
.
Erlandson, D. A., Harris, E. L., Skipper, B. L., & Allen, S. D. (
1993
).
Doing Naturalistic Inquiry: A Guide to Methods
.
Thousand Oaks, CA
:
SAGE Publications, Incorporated
.
Fels, L., &Meyer, K. (
1997
).
On the edge of chaos: Co-evolving world(s) of drama and science
.
Teaching Education
,
9
(
1
),
75
81
. doi:
Freedman, K. (
2000
).
Social perspectives on art education in the US: Teaching visual culture in a democracy
.
Studies in Art Education
,
41
(
4
),
314
329
.
Glaser, B. G. (
1978
).
Theoretical sensitivity: Advances in the methodology of grounded theory
.
Mill Valley, CA
:
Sociology Press
.
Glaser, B. G., & Strauss, A. L. (
1967
).
The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research
.
Piscataway, NJ
:
Aldine de Gruyter
.
Greene, M. (
1984
).
Consciousness and the public space: Discovering a pedagogy
.
Phenomenology + Pedagogy
,
3
(
2
),
69
83
.
Greene, M. (
2000
).
Imagining futures: The public school and possibility
.
Journal of Curriculum Studies
,
32
(
2
),
267
80
.
Gurung, R. A. R., Chick, N. L., & Haynie, A. (
2009
).
Exploring Signature Pedagogies: Approaches to Teaching Disciplinary Habits of Mind
.
Sterling, VAL Stylus Publishing, LLC
.
Harrison, B. (
2002
).
Seeing health and illness worlds—Using visual methodologies in a sociology of health and illness: A methodological review
.
Sociology of Health & Illness
,
24
(
6
),
856
872
.
Haven, K. F. (
2000
).
Super Simple Storytelling: A Can-Do Guide for Every Classroom, Every Day
.
Greenwood Village, CO
:
Libraries Unlimited
.
Herschbach, D. R. (
1996
).
Teaching chemistry as a liberal art
.
Liberal Education
,
82
,
10
17
.
Knox, J. A., & Croft, P. J. (
1997
).
Storytelling in the meteorology classroom
.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
,
78
(
May
),
897
906
.
Kokkotas, P., Rizaki, A., & Malamitsa, K. (
2010
).
Storytelling as a strategy for understanding concepts of electricity and electromagnetism
.
Interchange
,
41
(
4
),
379
405
.
Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (
1985
).
Naturalistic Inquiry
(vol.
75
).
Thousand Oaks, CA
:
Sage Publications
.
Lindqvist, S., Hedin, M., & Larsson, U. (Eds.). (
2000
).
Museums of Modern Science
. Nobel Symposium.
Canton, MA
:
Science History Publications
.
McElroy, C. J. (
2007
).
Storytelling in the classroom
.
International Journal of the Humanities
,
4
(
1
),
127
135
.
Martin, B. E., & Brouwer, W. (
1991
).
The sharing of personal science and the narrative element in science education
.
Science Education
,
75
(
6
),
707
722
.
Noblit, G. W., Dickson Corbett, H., Wilson, B. L., & McKinney, M. B. (
2008
).
Creating and Sustaining Arts-Based School Reform: The A+ Schools Program
.
London
:
Routledge
.
Plank, M. (
1949
).
Scientific autobiography and other papers
.
New York
:
Philosophical Library
.
Rifa-Valls, M. (
2009
).
Deconstructing immigrant girls’ identities through the production of visual narratives in a Catalan urban primary school
.
Gender and Education
,
21
(
6
),
671
688
.
Rossman, G. B., & Rallis, S. F. (
2011
).
Learning in the field: An introduction to qualitative research
.
Thousand Oaks, CA
:
Sage
.
Ruppert, S. S. (
2006
).
Critical evidence: How the arts benefit student achievement
. ERIC. Retrieved from http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/recordDetail?accno=ED529766
Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (
1994
).
Grounded theory methodology
. In
Handbook of Qualitative Research
(pp.
273
285
).
Thousand Oaks,CA
:
Sage
.
Viereck, G. S. (
1930
).
Glimpses of the Great
.
London
:
Duckworth
.
Weisskopf, V. F. (
1979
).
Knowledge and Wonder: The Natural World as Man Knows It
.
Cambridge, MA
:
MIT Press
.