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The Strandbeests, STEAM, and the PEM

The half day before Thanksgiving provides a welcome chance to take a break from projects underway to see and learn something new. This year we’re watching videos of The Strandbeests, creations of Dutch artist Theo Jansen. Jansen’s Strandbeests are giant kinetic works of art, science, technology, math, and engineering. Or to rearrange those words, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math = STEAM

Animaris Umerus, Scheveningen beach, The Netherlands (2009). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis

These are giant, moving creatures:

Watch this video to see the Strandbeests in motion in their natural habitat:

To see the playlist of Theo Jansen Strandbeest videos, click here.

Following the videos, students worked in groups to consider what kind of a Strandbeest they could make together and what special attributes it would have. They have jotted notes and made diagrams. I enjoy seeing the plans below that would repurpose common items such as baseball bats, refrigerators, and lacrosse sticks.

Theo Jansen’s Strandbeests are at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem right now. The show runs through early January. I plan to see the show over the Thanksgiving weekend. Now that the kids have seen these videos, they may want to see the exhibit, too. I hope you go and maybe I’ll see you there!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!




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