How dance can help students in STEM disciplinesOctober 09, 2017
A proof-of-concept study at North Carolina State University finds participation in dance programs helps students - including those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines - develop skills such as creativity and persistence that benefited them in the classroom and beyond.
"Our core question was what drives students to participate in the arts at an institution where there are no arts majors and there is an emphasis on STEM," says lead author Fay Cobb Payton, a University Faculty Scholar and professor of information systems and technology. "We wanted to know what benefits students get from engaging in the arts when they're majoring in other disciplines.
"We found that study participants feel that they benefit substantially from participating in the arts - in this case, dance - and that, in this context, the arts can be viewed as a structure for fostering inclusion and nurturing persistence, among other things."
Over the course of a year, researchers conducted in-depth interviews and focus groups with 25 study participants who had been involved in on-campus dance companies as undergraduates. Fifteen of the participants were STEM majors, majoring in disciplines such as applied mathematics, engineering and chemistry.
Study participants reported that participating in the dance companies gave them a sense of community, a healthy outlet for expressing themselves, and access to a more diverse group of people than they found in their academic disciplines.
"Participants also reported that being involved in dance made them more creative in the way they approached problem-solving in the laboratory or classroom," Payton says. "For example, the dancers said they were accustomed to working as part of a group, and felt this helped them incorporate multiple viewpoints when tackling academic challenges."
Study participants also said they found a sense of rigor in the discipline of dance that mirrored the academic rigor they faced as students, but that many of their peers were dismissive of dance as a serious pursuit.
Anecdotally, the researchers found that there was a lack of awareness among other students about campus activities and opportunities related to the arts.
"This is a small, qualitative study," Payton says. "The next step is to look quantitatively at larger groups and other forms of the arts, such as music, with the goal of developing best practices for incorporating these diverse fields of interest in way that improves outcomes and well-being for undergraduates.
"We'd like to see more institutional support for the idea that STEM and the arts can complement each other. This isn't about training professional dancers, but about training students from a variety of fields in how to be creative, work well in groups and so on. It's good workforce preparation - and it also makes students happy. That's something which is often overlooked, but it's important."
North Carolina State University
Related Mathematics Articles:
For democratic elections to be fair, voting districts must have similar sizes.
Skin color patterns in animals arise from microscopic interactions among colored cells that obey equations discovered by Alan Turing.
New research supports a structure-based classification system for viruses which could help in the identification and treatment of emerging viruses.
Janet Heine Barnett, Caren Diefenderfer, and Tevian Dray were named the 2017 Deborah and Franklin Tepper Haimo Award winners by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) for their teaching effectiveness and influence beyond their institutions.
Prizes for the year's best books in mathematics were awarded to Ian Stewart and Tim Chartier by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) on Jan.
Composed of over 1,800 chemical components, coffee is one of the most widely-consumed drinks in the world.
Physicists avoid highly mathematical work despite being trained in advanced mathematics, new research suggests.
World-leading experts on music and mathematics present insights on the connections between these two ancient arts, especially as they relate to composition and performance, as well as creativity, education, and geometry.
In a study funded by the National Science Foundation, researchers at the University of Missouri discovered that preschoolers who better process words associated with numbers and understand the quantities associated with these words are more likely to have success with math when they enter kindergarten.
World leaders in the mathematical sciences are visiting Melbourne for a series of research programs at Australia's first international research institute for mathematics and statistics.
Related Mathematics Reading:
Mathematics for the Nonmathematician
by Morris Kline (Author)
Practical, scientific, philosophical, and artistic problems have caused men to investigate mathematics. But there is one other motive which is as strong as any of these — the search for beauty. Mathematics is an art, and as such affords the pleasures which all the arts afford." In this erudite, entertaining college-level text, Morris Kline, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at New York University, provides the liberal arts student with a detailed treatment of mathematics in a cultural and historical context. The book can also act as a self-study vehicle for advanced high school students and... View Details
Mathematics An Illustrated History of Numbers (100 Ponderables)
by Tom Jackson (Editor)
Legend has it that the first magic square, where all lines and diagonals add up to the same figure, was revealed more than 2,000 years ago when a river turtle appeared to have ancient Chinese numerals inscribed on sections of its shell. Patterns are everywhere in nature, and counting, measuring, and calculating changes are as old as civilization itself, as are many of the theorems and laws of math. The Pythagorean Theorem was used to plot out fields for planting crops before the ancient Greek Pythagoras was even born, but the story begins long before that, with tally marks on rock and bone... View Details
The Mathematics Lover’s Companion: Masterpieces for Everyone
by Edward R. Scheinerman (Author)
Twenty-three mathematical masterpieces for exploration and enlightenment
How can a shape have more than one dimension but fewer than two? What is the best way to elect public officials when more than two candidates are vying for the office? Is it possible for a highly accurate medical test to give mostly incorrect results? Can you tile your floor with regular pentagons? How can you use only the first digit of sales numbers to determine if your accountant is lying? Can mathematics give insights into free will?
Edward Scheinerman, an accomplished mathematician... View Details
The Princeton Companion to Mathematics
by Timothy Gowers (Editor), June Barrow-Green (Editor), Imre Leader (Editor)
This is a one-of-a-kind reference for anyone with a serious interest in mathematics. Edited by Timothy Gowers, a recipient of the Fields Medal, it presents nearly two hundred entries, written especially for this book by some of the world's leading mathematicians, that introduce basic mathematical tools and vocabulary; trace the development of modern mathematics; explain essential terms and concepts; examine core ideas in major areas of mathematics; describe the achievements of scores of famous mathematicians; explore the impact of mathematics on other disciplines such as biology, finance,... View Details
The Math Book: From Pythagoras to the 57th Dimension, 250 Milestones in the History of Mathematics (Sterling Milestones)
by Clifford A. Pickover (Author)
Math's infinite mysteries unfold in this paperback edition of the bestselling TheMath Book. Beginning millions of years ago with ancient “ant odometers” and moving through time to our modern-day quest for new dimensions, prolific polymath Clifford Pickover covers 250 milestones in mathematical history. Among the numerous concepts readers will encounter as they dip into this inviting anthology: cicada-generated prime numbers, magic squares, and the butterfly effect. Each topic is presented in a lavishly illustrated spread, including formulas and real-world applications of... View Details
Mathematics: A Complete Introduction (Teach Yourself)
by Hugh Neill (Author)
Maths does not have to be difficult. This book, complete with exercises and answers, forms a course which will take you from beginner or intermediate level to being a confident mathematician. This book includes simple step-by-step explanations, to help you grasp new topics or those that have previously confused you; practice questions throughout, to help you embed your learning and improve your confidence; End of chapter summaries, to help you remember the key points you've learned; All in one great-value book, so you don't need any separate workbooks or coursebooks.
Chapters include:... View Details
Mathematics: From the Birth of Numbers
by Jan Gullberg (Author)
A gently guided, profusely illustrated Grand Tour of the world of mathematics.This extraordinary work takes the reader on a long and fascinating journey--from the dual invention of numbers and language, through the major realms of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, to the final destination of differential equations, with excursions into mathematical logic, set theory, topology, fractals, probability, and assorted other mathematical byways. The book is unique among popular books on mathematics in combining an engaging, easy-to-read history of... View Details
Secrets of Mental Math: The Mathemagician's Guide to Lightning Calculation and Amazing Math Tricks
by Arthur Benjamin (Author), Michael Shermer (Author)
These simple math secrets and tricks will forever change how you look at the world of numbers.
Secrets of Mental Math will have you thinking like a math genius in no time. Get ready to amaze your friends—and yourself—with incredible calculations you never thought you could master, as renowned “mathemagician” Arthur Benjamin shares his techniques for lightning-quick calculations and amazing number tricks. This book will teach you to do math in your head faster than you ever thought possible, dramatically improve your memory for numbers, and—maybe for the first... View Details
A History of Mathematics
by Carl B. Boyer (Author), Uta C. Merzbach (Author)
The updated new edition of the classic and comprehensive guide to the history of mathematics
For more than forty years, A History of Mathematics has been the reference of choice for those looking to learn about the fascinating history of humankind’s relationship with numbers, shapes, and patterns. This revised edition features up-to-date coverage of topics such as Fermat’s Last Theorem and the Poincaré Conjecture, in addition to recent advances in areas such as finite group theory and computer-aided proofs.Distills thousands of years of mathematics into a... View Details
The Mathematics Devotional: Celebrating the Wisdom and Beauty of Mathematics
by Clifford A. Pickover (Author)
“It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.” —Sofia Kovalevskaya, Recollections of Childhood, 1895 From the ingenious author of The Math Book and The Physics Book comes an inspirational volume that celebrates the beauty and wisdom of mathematics. Every page of this yearlong devotional presents a sage remark alongside a stunning image relating to the world of math. The quotes offer insight from such brilliant thinkers as Pythagoras, Richard Feynman, and Robert Heinlein, and the art showcases everything from gorgeous fractals to... View Details