Arts integration into science has been shown to motivate students and promote long-term retention of content. To add to the literature addressing arts integration, an experiment was conducted with middle school students studying the anatomical similarities and differences between modern and fossil marine invertebrates and different types of extant insects. Eighth grade students participated in a counterbalanced-design, quasi-experimental study to determine if the integration of art into the science curriculum would influence student retention of content, enjoyment, motivation, and perceived learning toward learning science concepts supporting the Next Generation Science Standards including engineering-related concepts. The lessons addressed Life Science standard MS-LS4-2. Results showed that the integration of an art activity had a significant effect on knowledge retention favoring the experimental condition with a medium effect size on the posttest and a large effect on the distal posttest. Student enjoyment, motivation, and perceived learning also showed significant differences overall and specifically for enjoyment and for perceived learning favoring the experimental conditions of arts integration with a small effect size.
Teske, J. K., & Pittman, P. J. Z. (2017) Eighth graders explore form and function of modern and fossil organisms. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions, 2(1), 79-94.