Signature Meets STEAM 9
This semester, Emma’s Signature and STEAM 9 programs converged when Chelsea Y. ’22 set out to teach ninth graders what she’s learned about Processing, a language for coding within the context of the arts. This exciting part of Chelsea’s Signature project is a wonderful example of student becoming teacher.
As part of her STEAM 10 project, Chelsea began learning Processing, an integrated development environment built for the electronic arts. For her 11th grade Signature project, Chelsea pursued a plan to teach a module about Processing to this year’s STEAM 9 class. The STEAM 9 program for ninth graders allows students to explore their interests in STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, arts, math). Students begin by participating in hands-on projects with select faculty. For the first time, one of those selected teachers was a student!
“After exploring the language of Processing in my STEAM 10 project,” Chelsea says, “I wanted to share how art and computer science could intertwine to produce interactive media.” Chelsea began her lesson planning by formulating a list of essential skills to introduce the Processing language to students. “Referencing the Processing community website, Make: Getting Started with p5.js (by Lauren McCarthy, Casey Reas, and Ben Fry), and my 10th grade Computer Science teacher Ms. Shah,” Chelsea explains, “I compiled a few rudimentary functions to introduce interactivity in computer science to STEAM 9 students.”
“This module is a new category in STEAM 9, and is very much fitting in this abnormal year,” Chelsea continues. “Many resources could only be accessed online. Students learned from screencasts and weekly meetings, where I was able to elaborate on their various fields of interest in interactivity while brainstorming their individual projects.”
Chelsea discovered that each person approached the coding language differently. “Some were drawn to recreating animated movie scenes, others were interested in designing a game, and even representing and replicating sound through visual symbols,” she recalls. “I was delighted to see the variety of paths each individual approached in the process of exploring Processing.” Nine of the STEAM 9 participants ended up pursuing Processing projects in the final part of their program. (View excerpts from the STEAM 9 presentations to see their work.)
Signature Director Jon Calos has been encouraging Chelsea throughout the process. “I am really pleased with how Chelsea has found her way at Emma,” he shares. “Her project perfectly combines her deep interest in computer science and art. Chelsea has created an experience that is only possible in Signature.” Having seen her in action with the STEAM 9 class, Mr. Calos also observes, “Chelsea is a natural teacher. Her explanations are clear, she is a patient listener, and she understands how to scaffold lessons to work for ninth graders.”
In addition to teaching ninth graders about Processing this semester, Chelsea also completed her own project. “My Signature presentation is on creating an interactive exhibition involving Processing,” Chelsea shares. “There will be an empty space with videos of my products projected on walls, in which my intention would be for the audience to interact with art through these electronic devices. I aim to continuously explore how the audience could synthesize with art, a medium that could heal, express, and resolve our thoughts and emotions.” (View Chelsea’s Signature presentation and website.)
Chelsea’s project highlights the interdisciplinary nature of learning at Emma, where programs intersect to encourage creative thinking and explore artistic expression. We look forward to Chelsea’s continued work as it inspires younger students, while leading her to ever greater ways to serve and shape our world.
Your blog post content here…