• Good Teaching and Learning Can be summed up

    in the Book: Thirteen Thinking Tools from the Most Creative People
    as identified by the research of Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein

    The 13 thinking tools are:

    Observing, Imaging, Abstracting, Recognizing Patterns, Forming Patterns, Analogizing, Body Thinking, Empathizing, Dimensional Thinking, Modeling, Playing, Transforming, Synthesizing

  • The Short Story

    I am an interdisciplinary educator by training who went to art school to understand the connections between disciplines and methodologies. Polymaths are thinkers who cross disciplines and develop fluency in many different areas that allow them to make breakthroughs in ways others can't. We need more polymaths in the world.

    Research Inspired Teaching

    All of the work posted in this online forum comes from my active classroom and is strongly influenced by the research done by Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein. These two scholars have documented clear connections between the disciplines of art and science and the disciplines that are connected to these two main areas of study. Their research shows that in-order for our society to develop more broad minded thinkers that are able to achieve success in their disciplines or in other interdisciplinary areas of study they need opportunities to practice a variety of types of thinking. In their book Sparks of Genius. The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People (1999), they describe numerous examples of how famous and non-famous scientists excel in their area of research by practicing all or most of the following types of thinking: observing, imaging and visualization, abstracting, pattern recognition and pattern invention, analogizing, dimensional thinking, modeling, body or kinesthetic thinking, manual dexterity, familiarity with tools, transforming data into visual or graphical forms, converting theories into mechanical procedures, understanding data and experiments kinesthetically and empathetically (SEAD: White Paper).

    The lessons and projects included in this blog are examples of applying this research to my everyday science teaching. This blog started as a way to start describing the many layers to what I teach on a day to day basis.

  • Interdisciplinary EDUCATION IS.....

    We are all global citizens!

    GLOBAL EDUCATION INCLUDES ALL THE THINGS YOU WANT LEARNING TO BE: Engaging, dynamic, creative, fascinating, heart warming, gut wrenching, authentic, timely, and connecting. This work includes the desire to understand such topics as human geography and how place is shaped by politics, history, culture and economics. For school age students, the challenge is to understand how becoming racially literate becomes an act of peace and reconciliation because empathy grows from a place of knowledge which can be seen as informed compassion. Here are a few examples of what I have created through a mindset of curiosity and the starter question "what if?".
    I am passionate about helping students expand their understanding of the world around them through laying out connections, making and building and creating something that once did not exist. This collection of programatic samples of learning shows that great teaching and learning uses, design thinking, project based learning, civic engagement, international experiences, constructivist learning and a deep connection to social justice as a human right. I believe, to learn is to be fully alive.As Reimers, et al states in the book Empowering Global Citizens "Global citizenship education is essential for creating a world with sustainable peace - a world without poverty or hunger and where all have health and education. A world where women and men have the same opportunities where all have clean water and sanitation, where there is economic growth and prosperity created by industry and innovation. A world where we reduce inequalities and create sustainable cities and communities and where we consume responsibly and no longer behave in ways that change the climate or harm life on this planet. A world of peace and justice for all."
  • Preparing students to Study Abroad

    Interdisciplinary teaching is global, hands-on, challenging, and relevant to todays issues.


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    International Service Learning Course and Trip

    Engaging students in what Being of Service really means if it is on a partnership basis. 
    Learning how to be “of service” is not as simple as it sounds. Students are asked to learn about themselves, the culture they will travel to, and to study the community dynamics before they ever begin the work that looks like service. The year long International Service Learning Course helps students understand the part they play when engaging in service learning.
    Students have traveled to Peru, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Belize, and beyond to learn first hand what it means to step out of their comfort zone while connecting with a new culture. 
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    Senior Seminar

    This unique interdisciplinary senior year experience!

    Traveling abroad naturally expands a person’s perspective of themselves as the world around them changes. New foods, sounds, smells and experiences constantly remind students that they are in a new land with new customs and norms. The senior class has traveled to such places as Spain, Italy, Eastern Europe, Greece, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and beyond. The senior seminar experience is rigorous and immersive. Students begin the year by learning about the science, history, art, and literature of the place they will travel to. This epic field trip will help them choose their interdisciplinary capstone topic which will lead to deep research, a 12 page paper, a 20 min presentation and a hand-built 3D artifact of their research. Learning this way is deliberate and mindfully crafted. AIM Academy believes that each student can rise to the expectations placed upon them with a wide variety of opportunities for success. Check out the AIM website for more information about the details of the Senior Seminar learning experience.


    Liter of Light is a visionary project that brings hand made, solar powered lights to people that don't have it. This could include bringing light to those in hurricane stricken zones or those that live involuntarily off the city's power grid.

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    Students at AIM Academy learned about sustainable development and the simple ways they can provide marginalized communities worldwide with a brighter future as they build solar lights with the founder of the international non-profit organization Liter of Light.


    The grass-roots non-profit is seeking to raise awareness for sustainable development issues by teaching others how to build solar lights as a solution to energy poverty. This project is directly aligned with the Oxfam Global Matrices.

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    Working to eliminate light poverty.

    Students learned to make the lights they are holding which were delivered to communities that the Liter of Light team would be traveling to. That model was designed by the Brazil volunteer team.
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    Building Lights

    On their way across the country, the Liter of Light team stopped through our school and taught groups of students to build their own lights. Assembling the circuit boards, learning to solder and listening to why light education is important were a few of the key topics delivered. 
  • 2015 ISTE Conference Poster # 1

    The poster below was presented at the 2015 ISTE Conference in Philadelphia, PA.

    The poster essential explains three projects that taught students science and technology through using Makey Makey Circuit Boards, Underwater Robots and Arduino Boards to create bioluminescent robots.

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  • three STEAM projects

    Learning about circuit boards through building robots and music trees

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    Underwater Robots

    Using SeaPerch materials, lessons and direction, the lessons I created focused on the design and building process involved in building and underwater robot. Students first learned about deep sea research and the scientists that build underwater submersibles that carry sensors and travel to the sea floor. NOAA Underwater submersibles





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    Bioluminescent Robots

    Inspired by the Make Magazine coffee bot robot found o the website below, students in the Design Science Lab Class made bioluminescent robots that either away from light or ran towards light. This is a departure from how organisms in nature make their own light but overall, students learned a lot about both nature and how to make a robot. Using arduino circuit boards and a bit of coding, students made coffee can robots that resembled organisms.


    check out the original idea at http://makezine.com/projects/make-34/coffee-bots/

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    Music Trees

    The quick description is that students were given the task of creating a hand made tree that made music. We had makey makey boards available to use and garage band within our mac computers. We downloaded an Arduino code and changed a few things within the code in order to repurpose the back side of the makey makey board.



  • Makey Makey Music Trees

    This is a brief overview of a very successful collaborative project that took place between two very different schools.

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    This is a brief overview of a very successful collaborative project that took place between two very different schools. 
  • Music Trees: The Lesson

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    Lesson Overview

    What: Students learned innovative thinking through imaginative and scenario based challenges; this unit introduced students to Makey Makey circuit boards, taught them basic circuitry and programming concepts, and included a culminating project which gave students hands on experience carrying out the steps of an engineering design process. Furthermore, as a part of their exploratory process,

    AIM students Skyped and collaborated with Seniors from Newton North High
    School’s Greenengineering Program sharing images and videos, as well as
    interviewing each other regarding design developments throughout the project. Students in both schools had been charged with the task of making an interactive Music Tree using unusual materials. AIM Academy students used Makey Makey circuit boards to power and program their Music Tress, while Newton North students used Solar panels and a human powered stationary bike.

    This Unit included multiple introductory explorations; with the culminating
    collaborative project in which AIM students were asked to build a 3D prototype tree that stands on a table, and will - if touched in various locations, make harmonic music.  

     In lessons previous to this creative design exploration, AIM students were
    introduced to engineering design processes and principles. In their creation
    of an object that when touched makes music, AIM students were expected to use the design process to figure out how to build and create a working
    prototype – identify problem/task, brainstorm, design, build, test and
    evaluate, then redesign and repeat build/testing/and design process until
    task is accomplished successfully, and then share their solution.

     Throughout the design process, AIM students learned the importance of
    defining the tasks at hand, were required to generate and share a multitude
    of ideas with each other in collaborative and respectful ways, created
    prototype guides on the development of their design documenting not only
    their process, but describing their various observations and ideas as well.
    The collaboration with the peers in their classroom required them to mediate
    any differences of opinion that occurred and make compromises with each
    other. And, their distance partners from Newton North High School’s
    Greenengineering Program encouraged them to see their initial failures as an interesting learning opportunity. Prior to each Skype session with Newton
    students, students were required to reflect on where they were in process of
    developing their prototypes, and develop questions or observations to share
    with their Newton North Partners.
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    Method: In this Makey Makey exploration unit, students were asked to make four projects using Makey Makey circuit boards to demonstrate their learning:
    1) re-assigning up, down, left, and right arrow keys on a keyboard to an object to provide access to playing a game on the computer without a keyboard, 2) reprogramming their keyboard to make electronic music using either an online drum, piano, or other instrument, 3) create a game or electronic music controller for someone who does not have any fingers, and 4) to build a 3D prototype tree that stands on a table which will play music when various parts are touched. (Each successive project increasing in complexity.)
    Prior to these creative explorations, students were given brief instruction on the Makey Makey kit showing and describing its various parts,
    modeling how to hook up the Makey Makey to computers, explaining the Makey Makey interaction with the computer i.e. – that to the computer the MaKey MaKey is a keyboard because the MaKey MaKey is a circuit board which senses key presses, mouse clicks, and mouse movements – that there are input keys on the Makey Makey circuit board, with 6 for keyboard keys, and 6 for the mouse, which are accessed from the circuit board with the alligator clips.
    Through direct instruction students are also refreshed on the basic of electricity, and open and closed circuits were defined. Demonstrations on and closed circuit concepts were given and students were involved demonstrations in a variety of ways, such as demonstrating that people are
    conductive by having students hold hands while one person touches “earth” and another the space bar while in a program. Basic concepts regarding computer programming are also discussed.
    Post direct instruction overview on Makey Makey use, students are asked
    follow up questions such as, why it is important to connect to “earth” when creating connections with the Makey Makey. Students needed to understand that the Makey Makey will not work without being closed and recognize that when the lights are flashing that the circuit is closed.
    Students are then given time to explore the Makey Makey website with a
    variety of pre-made Scratch programs using the computer keyboard prior to
    demonstrating their learning with their design challenges to ensure a greater depth of understanding on how to use the Makey Makey. Student challenges are completed in successive classes; teams for challenge are assigned based on student performance in previous units as well as teacher knowledge of students who work well together.
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    Materials: The materials that were used in the construction of the Trees included left over lab material we had in excess:
    • Tubing
    • Plastic Weigh Boats
    •  Hot glue/hot glue gun
    • Thin and Thick Wire
    • Cardboard – a lot of it
    • Left over foam pieces
    • Cardboard poster tubes
    • Scroll Saw
    • Box Cutters
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    Take Away

    Take away: Throughout this unit, students were able to: demonstrate that a
    continuous loop of conducting material is needed for an uninterrupted flow of
    current in a circuit, distinguish electrical conductors (materials that allow electricity to flow through them) from insulators (materials that do not allow electricity to flow through them), and were able to recognize and demonstrate that some materials, including resistors, are partial conductors of electricity. This project also gave students the chance to work in smaller groups of two or three, learn some basic programming concepts, and to develop their creative thinking, collaboration, and design skills. It enhanced their learning and innovation skills through research and building, their information, media, and technology skills through online collaboration and research tools/methods; and life and career skills by giving them the opportunity to collaborate and discuss the complex design process with their peers as well as with the students from Newton North High School.
  • Student Built Aquaponic Systems

    Working within a Biology class, 9th grade students learned about the nitrogen cycle after researching and building their own living units. 

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    Students worked in small teams and were asked to first do research on the topics of aquaponics to understand the concept and the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics. Understanding the basic needs of plants and fish are essential along with understanding design, tool use and basic engineering. 
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    Due to a large 9th grade class 10 aquaponic systems were built. Each system used a wide range of materials. The image here shows a repurposed seed tray where plants would grow in hydroton on the shallow tray. All systems had pumps, access to light, hydroton, plans, fish and monitoring supplies. This activity relied on students ability to collaborate.  More specific reflection on how they worked together would have been useful to them. This is a great opportunity to teach communication as well. 
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    Once their systems were built, students needed to monitor the ammonia, pH and nitrogen levels. This image shows a large lower tank where fish were added and the plants living above. Nearby plants are waiting to be transplanted. We started from previously grown plants and some students experimented with growing food from seed. Students also created a poster and give a video description of their projects. 
  • AHC Publications

    • ● Cline, A. ​2019 Global Thread Report​ for AIM Academy, June 1, 2019.
    • ● Cline, A. ​2018 Global Thread Report​ for AIM Academy, June 5, 2018.

    • ● Cline, A. ​2017 Global Thread Report​ for AIM Academy, June 2, 2017.

    • ● Cline, A., ExCite Center Drexel University STEAM Educ Workshop, Interdisciplinary Education: Merging Disciplines and Methodologies For the Sake of Cognition. ​February 20, 2017.

    • ● Cline, A. ​Thinking Across Hemispheres​. Clot Magazine. London, Sept 7, 2016.

    • ● Cline, A., R. Ervin, S. Chinosi. ​Learning Science through building and programming circuit boards​. International Society for Technology in Education, Philadelphia, PA. June 28, 2015.

    • ● Cline, A. ​When Science Meets Art​. Clot Magazine. London, April 15, 2015.

    • ● Herman, C., A. Cline, S. Braccia, M. Dunn, A. Gubanich. ​Another way: Doing it differently at AIM​. Partnership for 21st Century Skills Summit, Washington, DC. March 26 and 27, 2015.

    • ● Cline, A. University of the Arts Alumni Workshop Speaker Series. ​Designing the Microscopic World: Connecting students and scientists through art and Art and science of the sea floor​. April 12, 2014.

    • ● Cline, A., T. Moore. ​Humans and the ocean are inextricably connected​. New England Ocean Science Education Collaborative: Ocean Literacy Summit Woods Hole, MA. November 7, 2014.

    • ● Cline, A.; Moore, T. S.;​ ​Design science meets ocean science: Engaging challenging learning with innovative projects while collaborating with an ocean scientist​.​ ​(Abstract ID: 16698) ASLO Ocean Sciences Meeting, February 23-28, 2014.

    • ● Cline, A. ​Examples of Teaching and Learning through the STEAM lens​. January 24, 2014

    • ● Cline, A., P. Chick, K. Young. ​Art and Ocean Science: Using art to teach ocean science topics to formal and informal audiences​. National Science Teachers Association Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 18-20, 2010.

    • ● Cline, A., A. deCharon, ​Scientist Educator Partnerships to Enhance Rural Ocean Literacy​. National Science Teachers Association Meeting, Philadelphia, PA. March 18-20, 2010

    • ● Cline, A. H., T. S. Moore, D. Grant, S. Carroll, S. Comstock, K. Fitz-Randolph, V. Macoy, C. Nylen. ​Bringing ocean science research to the middle school classroom​. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Orlando, FL. March 3-7, 2008.

    • ● Cline, A., A. Adamek, N. Wolff, S. Ryan and J. Levin. ​The Changing Ocean: On-line Tools for Teaching Ocean Science​. National Marine Educators Association Meeting, Portland, ME. July 25, 2007. Lessons can be viewed at http://research.usm.maine.edu/gulfofmaine-census/education/tools-resources/onlin e-lesson-plans

    • ● Cline, A., D. Blaha. Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter, ​When is Dinner Served? Predicting the Spring Phytoplankton Bloom in the Gulf of Maine​. November, 2007. Online lesson can be viewed at http://serc.carleton.edu/eet/phytoplankton/

    • ● Cline, A., R. Morrison, P. Chick, T. Kent, D. Goodwin, J. Smith, K. Donahue. Seasons of the sea: An ocean observing informal education exhibit at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, NH.​ American Society for Limnology and Oceanography Session CS09 Abstract ID: 241, Santa Fe, February 7, 2007. http://www.cooa.unh.edu/presentations/ASLO_SSC_Exhibit.pdf

    • ● Cline, A., T. Moore, J. Salisbury, J. Pringle, and A. Plagge.​ UNH GIS Day 2006 Posters showcasing research going on inside OPAL and the UNH Coastal Observing Center. Nov. 2006 ​http://www.cooa.unh.edu/GIS/GIS2006.jsp

    • ● Ecosystem relationships in the Gulf of Maine — Combined expert knowledge of fishermen and scientists​, NAMA Collaborative Report 1: 1-16, Aug. 2006. http://www.cooa.unh.edu/pdf/NAMA_ecosystem_project.pdf

    • ● Cline, A., J. Campbell, R. Morrison, D. Blaha. ​Preparing Educators with Practical Science: Ocean Observing in the Classroom​, MTS/IEEE Oceans 2005. http://www.ocean.us/system/files?file=5Data_in_Ed-ClinePaper.pdf​.

    • ● Integrated Ocean Observing System-Coastal Observing System and Education Workshop Report: ​Promoting Lifelong Ocean Education, Using the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) to Shape Tomorrows Earth’s Stewards and the Science Technology Workforce​. Workshop Committee Member. March 2004. http://www.ocean.us/documents/docs/Education%20Report/LoRes_Final_IOOS_ Edu_Pub.pdf

    • ● Cline, A. ​COOA: Monitoring, modeling, and analyzing​. U.S. Senate Hearing on the Ocean Commission Report, September 27, 2004 http://www.cooa.unh.edu/poster2.jsp

    • ● Cline, A. ​COOA: Education and outreach​. U.S. Senate Hearing on the Ocean Commission Report, September 27, 2004 ​http://www.cooa.unh.edu/poster1.jsp


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  • A few reading recommendations

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    Root-Bernstein Bibliography

    Root-Bernstein M & Root-Bernstein RS. (2005). Body thinking beyond dance: A Tools for thinking approach. In L Overby & B Lepczyk, (Eds.), Dance: Current Selected Research, 5, 173-202.
    Root-Bernstein RS. (1991). Teaching abstracting in an integrated art and science curriculum. RoeperReview, 13 (2), 85-90.
    Root-Bernstein RS. (1989). Discovering, Inventing and Solving Problems at the Frontiers of Scientific Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    Root-Bernstein RS, Allen L, Beach L, Bhadula R, Fast J, Hosey C, Kremkow B, Lapp J, Lonc K,  Pawelec K, Podufaly A, Russ C, Tennant L, Vrtis E & Weinlander S. (2008). Arts foster success: Comparison of Nobel prizewinners, Royal Society, National Academy, and Sigma Xi members. J Psychol Sci Tech, 1(2), 51-63.
    Root‑Bernstein RS, Bernstein M & Garnier HW. Correlations between avocations, scientific style, and professional impact of thirty‑eight scientists of the Eiduson study. Creativity Research Journal, 8, 115‑137.
    Root-Bernstein RS, LaMore R, Lawton J, Schweitzer J, Root-Bernstein M, Roraback E, Peruski A, Van Dyke M. (2013, in press). Arts, crafts and STEM Innovation: A Network approach to understanding the creative knowledge economy. In M Rush (Ed.), The Arts, New Growth, and Economic Development. Washington DC: National Endowment for the Arts & The Brookings Institution.
    Root‑Bernstein RS & Root‑Bernstein M. (1999). Sparks of Genius. The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
    Root-Bernstein RS & Root-Bernstein M. (2004). Artistic scientists and scientific artists: The Link between polymathy and creativity. In R Sternberg, EL Grigorenko, & JL Singer (Eds.), Creativity: From Potential to Realization (pp. 127-151). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    SEAD White Paper: http://seadnetwork.wordpress.com/white-paper-abstracts/final-white-papers/the-importance-of-early-and-persistent-arts-and-crafts-education-for-future-scientists-and-engineers/
    When I was completing a graduate degree in science/art education, I was stunned by the research the Root-Bernstein team discovered about Nobel prize winners. They stated that those that are excelling in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and winning the Nobel Prize are also good or proficient at some form of art or craft.  Their research identified that these successful individuals have developed this ability throughout their entire lives; those that are not winning are not as good or proficient at art.