In the steamy days of late summer, think of STEAM … and Steampunk

Ivy Tech takes another interim break in August, just before kids return to school. When the weather is hot and stormy, is a great time to indulge in crafting and hobbies.

Research shows these activities are good for your brain:
“Having at least one persistent and intellectually stimulating hobby is a better predictor of career success in any discipline than IQ, standardized test scores, or grades.”1
“Nobel laureates were: twenty-five times as likely as an average scientist to sing, dance, or act; seventeen times as likely to be an artist; twelve times more likely to write poetry and literature; eight times more likely to do woodworking or some other craft; four times as likely to be a musician; and twice as likely to be a photographer.”2

Educators know that the arts are a crucial addition to math, science, engineering and technology training. The non-linear problem-solving techniques, and creative flow, exercised in artistic endeavors stimulate innovation.

Crochet and knitting are used by mathematicians to demonstrate hyperbolic surfaces. Dr. Daina Taimina, visiting professor at Cornell University, was one of the pioneers in demonstrating hyperbolic crochet. Dr. Sarah-Marie Belcastro at Smith College and Dr. Carolyn Yackel at Mercer University publish on mathematical knitting. Dr. Maryam Mirzakhani, the Fields Medal winner who died of cancer July 14th, also worked on complex surfaces by “doodling” on large sheets of paper, writing the mathematical formulas in the margins.3

Margaret Wertheim explains the math of coral reefs using crocheted models from Dr. Taimina in a TED talk.

To get your creativity flowing, we have books to check out and page through on our DIY shelf in the Creative Commons. These are for all ages, and there are more crafting books in our children’s section.

We have access to the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center as part of our databases subscription. This is an excellent resource for techniques tutorials and designs, linking to how-to instructions and creative ideas with full text and illustrations from periodicals and books. It is organized into broad categories you can browse: Arts & Crafts, Collecting, Home & Garden, Indoor Recreation [games], Kids’ Crafts, Model Building, Needlecrafts & Textiles, Outdoor Recreation, Performing Arts, Science & Technology, Scrapbooking & Paper Crafts. A keyword search will pull up periodicals and books on “cake decoration” and other such specific activities within these. Or, you can do a keyword search across all categories for style topics, like Cosplay or Steampunk. Both are well covered here, from clothing to cakes to household furnishings.

1 Milgram, R., and Hong, E. (1997). “Out-of-school activities in gifted adolescents as a predictor of vocational choice and work.” Journal Of Secondary Gifted Education 8/3:111. Quoted in Colegrove, T. (2017). “Editorial Board Thoughts: Arts into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – STEAM, Creative Abrasion, and the Opportunity in Libraries Today,” Information Technology and Libraries, 36/1:7. https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v36i1.9733

2 Root-Bernstein, et al. (2008). “Arts Foster Scientific Success: Avocations of Nobel, National Academy, Royal Society, and Sigma Xi Members.” Journal of Psychology of Science and Technology https://doi.org/10.1891/1939-7054.1.2.51; quoted in Colegrove 2017.

3 http://news.stanford.edu/2017/07/15/maryam-mirzakhani-stanford-mathematician-and-fields-medal-winner-dies/

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