Sci-Arts Creative Teaching Resource

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The CREATIONS team identified eight practical features of a creative science education.  The CREATIONS Features are the basis of all of the teaching guides and planning tools provided in this resource.  In this section, find an explanation of each feature, questions that will help you to build the Features into your planning and teaching, and examples of projects that show them in practice.


Dialogue is about asking a question in a way that leads to new ideas and also leads to more questions.

  • How can you encourage your learners to do this too?
  • Can they challenge and question some of the science they encounter in their everyday lives?
  • When you have a dialogue with your learners does it always need to be in words? Can you use a provocative image, a piece of physical theatre?
  • This can involve a great deal of conflict of ideas and attitudes. How can you be ready to take the risk of including difference and productive conflict into your science teaching?


  • There are some great examples of visual arts images that stimulate provocative questions in the CERN project, putting science and art directly ‘in conversation’ with each other.
  • Other creative science projects focus directly on dialogue and debating difference to bring science alive for learners, for example the Student Parliaments.


When the sciences and arts work best together they’re really showing transdisciplinarity in action. No matter where we come from, as human beings we are interested in answering the same questions to come up with new ideas.

Transdisciplinarity is about drawing on ideas and processes from any discipline to answer those questions.

  • How can we find ways to use the different processes of the sciences and the arts to solve common problems?
  • In your teaching how can you allow for problem-finding, exploring, reasoning, reflecting, questioning and experimenting?
  • How can you mix learning facts with knowing how to experiment, how to make art, and help you and your learners recognise feelings and emotions in all of this?
  • How can you make sure the science and arts learning is of a high quality?

Making sure you have access to the right equipment whether Bunsen burners or quality art materials is key here.


Some of the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s schools activities bring the sciences together with other disciplines in playful ways.

Individual, collaborative and communal activities for change

Creativity in science education is rarely a solo process. The arts are a really fruitful way of encouraging collaboration within a communally driven experimental science classroom so that everyone can have a go at being creative with scientific ideas and questions.


Using combined science and arts skills can be an engaging way to collaborate creatively, see CERN’s Webfest where young people created 3D games about particle physics and cheap cell-phone enabled cosmic ray detectors.

Balance and navigation

Creative science teaching, which encourages creativity in science learning, is a constant balance of control and freedom, structure and openness. It is about stepping in with your expertise when learners need it, but also stepping back and giving them the space to ask their own questions and allowing them to follow through scientifically themselves to find their own new answers.

Balance can also be about integrating existing scientific knowledge with engaging or enlightening arts processes so that children and young people’s own everyday questions about the world are brought to life.

Navigation is about acknowledging some of the common tensions and dilemmas we all face as educators – testing and assessment, the marketisation of education, and resource/time pressures.


The Imagineerium is a good example of engineering and sculpture integrated and balanced together in education for children and their local community.

Empowerment and agency

Empowering learners whilst covering everything in the curriculum can be extremely challenging.  Bearing in mind the constraints, how can you give learners more ownership of the science learning in small ways that might add together to help them be creative science learners?  This might be about modelling your own passion for independently asking questions in science, to encourage them to do the same. Giving them agency is also about letting them see through the experimentation process even when it goes wrong so they own their mistakes as well as their successes.


Engaging in larger scale creative science projects such as CERN@school can then build on learners’ day-to-day experiences of agency. CERN@school involves trusting learners to use a pixel detector chip to detect ionising radiation.

Risk, immersion and play

Taking risks is very connected to learners and teachers being able to make mistakes and have agency within their learning. To do these things, learners and teachers need to be motivated and excited. This might mean grounding the inquiry-based science education process in real life burning questions, or using the arts as a starting point for provoking questions.


  • The Imagineers provide an example of using the arts as a starting point for provoking questions.
  • The art@CMS touring exhibition provided strong motivation for learners to play with science. It presented an introduction to the exciting work carried out by physicists at CERN in Switzerland, and its two pods containing audiovisual displays, including The Large Hadron Collider, could be installed in any school. For learners this was a great opportunity to immerse themselves in cutting edge physics and take risks with their ensuing ideas supported by their teacher.


Really creative science teaching and learning allows for multiple possibilities both in terms of thinking and spaces.

Possibility thinking is about shifting from what is, to what might be, using the simple question ‘what if?’.  In creative science teaching, it is important to know when it is appropriate to narrow or broaden thinking in the context of asking ‘what if’ questions, so that teachers and learners can capture interesting new ideas.

The performing arts are extremely good at creating spaces to generate new ideas: music can create dynamic listening spaces, dance works with bodily relationships in space, drama can change who we are, and give us new perspectives on the world through role taking.


The UK Fun Palaces are a great example of this openness to possibilities.  The organisation believes ‘in the genius of everyone, that everyone is an artist and everyone is a scientist and that creativity in the community can change the world for the better’. Their project allows people to get immersed in connected science-arts experiences and playfully experiment with questions and processes. The outcomes show how vast the potential is for exploring ideas and constantly asking ‘what if?’

Ethics and trusteeship

This Feature is about the need for teachers and learners to consider the implications and impacts on those around them of their creative science processes and products.

Thinking about ethics as part of any making process is complex, for example in the questions:

  • What does it mean for a scientist to develop the science capable of making the nuclear bomb?
  • How might a dance performance portray the family difficulties that ensue from diseases caused by particular genetic mutations?

Here, the arts with their mastery of felt experience can provide powerful ways of engaging in these questions in classroom settings.

Trusteeship means thinking about who holds the values in question.  Within education it means helping young people to understand that they are the young trustees of their own community values, now and in the future.


The following are all rich practices within which a consideration of ethics and trusteeship can take place:

The CREATIONS Features were developed as part of European HORIZON-2020 framework labelled CREATIONS: Developing an Engaging Science Classroom (Grant Agreement No.66517;