Ragan, a fourth-grade student at Summit Academy Community School – Warren Elementary, puts a personal spin – the addition of a nesting bird – on her cherry blossom picture assignment.

Dashes of bright pink watercolor fill tree branches in a collection of student paintings. The pictures represent a celebration of spring and lessons about science, art and cherry blossoms at Summit Academy Community School – Warren.

Teacher Laurie Coy seized the National Cherry Blossom Festival as a teachable moment. The annual event is underway now until April 22 in Washington, D.C. As students learned about cherry blossoms, which bloom in hues from pink to white in early spring, they also embraced the creative pause, Coy says.

“The students relaxed as they enjoyed painting small blossoms, some with their fingertips, on their trees,” Coy describes.

In addition to paint, the students used crayons, markers and construction paper for this classroom project that merged science and art. Some of the pieces even include nesting birds.

Coy often engages her students in STEAM-focused curriculum that combines science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics collectively or in various combinations. She says STEAM lessons encourage creativity and hands-on exploration of different subject matter while enhancing problem-solving, critical thinking and an appreciation for the arts.