•  
  •  
 

Abstract

Research evidence for the benefits of arts integration is mounting. The purpose of this study was to determine if integration of the arts was an effective strategy for teaching the water cycle to kindergarten students. The study included lessons that supported both a science and an engineering standard of the Next Generation Science Standards and national arts standards. The phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of children as they learned and demonstrated understanding through drawings, watercolor paintings, dramatization of a water cycle poem, and the invention and testing of a waterproof boot. Participants were 12 kindergarten students (7 male, 5 female) aged 5-6 years, attending a public elementary school in the Midwestern United States. The three major themes that emerged from the phenomenological study were: 1) aspects of typical lessons, 2) art-enhanced learning, and 3) art-enhanced teacher understanding of student ideas. Findings revealed arts integration was motivating, engaging for the students, and an effective strategy for teaching about the water cycle. The art-based activities provided deeper insights about student understanding and misconceptions than traditional forms of assessment.