Enhancing Science Curriculum with Cognitive Development Through the Arts in Eighth Grade Science


  • Amber Hunter Student


science, cognitive development, the arts, thinking skills, adolescence


Middle school children are at a crucial turning point in their lives because they are becoming adolescents. Their brain is rapidly changing and pruning away unused connections. Because the brain loses neurons during adolescence, enhancing science curriculum through the arts is particularly important for cognitive development. The arts exercise certain areas of the brain that are used for learning. Research shows that children learn thinking skills through the arts that help them to be successful in eighth grade science. The arts enhance science curriculum through creative activities that promote thinking skills such as focusing, organizing, analyzing, interpreting, evaluating and reasoning. These skills help children develop higher levels of thinking and they help children to learn and understand eighth grade science.


Baker, D. (2013). Art integration and cognitive development. Journal for Learning through the Arts, 9(1). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/9wv1m987.

Eutsler, M. (2017). Developing critical thinking through the arts. LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.

Fund, K. H. D. & Cheng, P. W. D. (2012). Consensus or dissensus? Stakeholders’ views on the role of play in learning. Early Years, 32, 17-33. https://doi.org/10.1080/09575146.2011.599794

Grafton, S. (October 5, 2009). What can dance teach us about learning? Cerebrum Dana Foundation. https://dana.org/article/what-can-dance-teach-us-about-learning/

Hayes, O. (2009). The use of melodic and rhythmic mnemonics to improve memory and recall in elementary students in the content areas. [Unpublished Master’s Thesis]. Dominican University of California.

Hetland, L. (2000). Listening to music enhances spatial-temporal reasoning: Evidence for the “Mozart Effect”. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34(3/4), 105-148. https://doi.org/10.2307/3333640

Karakas, S. L. (2010). Creative and critical thinking in the arts and sciences: Some examples of congruence. The Forum on Public Policy 2, 1-9.

McDonald, E. (2010). A quick look into the middle school brain. NAESP Principals, January/February, 46, 47. https://www.naesp.org/sites/default/files/resources/2/Principal/2010/J-Fp46.pdf

Moore, M. M. (2004). Using drama as an effective method to teach elementary students [Unpublished]. Eastern Michigan University. https://commons.emich.edu/honors/113

Ohio Department of Education. (n.d.). Ohio’s Learning Standards and Model Curriculum. http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Learning-in-Ohio/Science/Ohios-Learning-Standards-and-MC/SciFinalStandardsMC060719.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US

Ormrod, J. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Developing Learners (Eighth ed.). Pearson Education.

Peng, P. & Kievit, R.A. (2020). The development of academic achievement and cognitive abilities: A bidirectional perspective. Child Development Perspectives, 14(1), 15 – 20. https://doi.org/10.1111/cdep.12352

Raiyn, J. (2016). The role of visual learning in improving students’ high-order thinking skills. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(24), 155-121.

Richland, L. E., Begolli, K., & Miller, H. (2016). Cognitive Development. In R. R. Frausel (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology. SAGE Publications. https://www.academia.edu/24444073/The_SAGE_Encyclopedia_of_Theory_in_Psyhology_Cognitive_Development Science songs for teaching (n.d.).

Songs for teaching. Using music to promote learning. Retrieved May 3, 2021 from https://www.songsforteaching.com/sciencesongs.htm

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2007, March 19). The brain loses neurons during adolescence. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070314093257.htm



How to Cite

Hunter, A. (2021). Enhancing Science Curriculum with Cognitive Development Through the Arts in Eighth Grade Science. Learning to Teach, 10(1). Retrieved from https://openjournals.utoledo.edu/index.php/learningtoteach/article/view/475



Section on Science