In the field of education, while STEM topics—science, technology, engineering, and math—play fairly visible roles in students’ instruction, another subject is gaining a better grip on K-12 teaching philosophy and turning the STEM concept into the more well-rounded STEAM education.
STEAM focuses not only on science, technology, engineering, and math in the classroom, but also integrates the study of art. The “A” in STEAM stands for Art.
Students should have access to a wide range of classes within the STEAM disciplines in order to cultivate their knowledge along with the ability to relate what they have learned to problems they may need to solve in the future.
With the inclusion of the study of art as part of a regular curriculum, students can increase their critical thinking skills as well as creativity and originality. Students can study a wide variety of art disciplines as part of the STEAM curriculum to engage their minds, improve in listening and communication, and learn to collaborate with their peers. These art disciplines include the following:
- Writing: Poetry, Novels, and Short Stories
- Performing Arts: Music, Dance, and Theater
- Culinary Arts: Baking, Cooking, and Candy-making
- Media Arts: Photography and Cinematography
- Visual Arts: Drawing, Painting, Ceramics, and Sculpting
Although it may seem as though there is no correlation between the study of science, technology, engineering, and math and the study of art, there is plenty of evidence to show the practical application of art as a regular school subject alongside STEM. For example, students can combine the concepts they have learned about two-dimensional figures and symmetry in math and perspective in art in a computer or graphic design class to make creative concepts for a wide range of projects. These can be projects such as creating their own computer apps or even designing new tools or machines before they are produced in a factory. STEAM Lesson Plans
As STEAM education is gaining a stronger foothold in the American education system, innovative teachers are collaborating and designing creative ways to integrate arts into their curriculum to create STEAM lesson plans. There are many online resources for both teachers and parents to help introduce their students these subjects in creative and fun ways.
- STEAM Education: A blog which lists not only STEAM lesson plans, but also articles on STEAM education and education advice.
- The STEAM Academy: This is the website for a initiative to introduce the STEAM model to schools around the globe. There model schools are the San Francisco Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Big Picture Learning, and Khan Academy.
- How to Smile: This website provides articles on creative ways to teach students math and science.
STEAM in School
Not all schools will offer a thorough approach to STEAM education, as many schools focus on the fundamentals of math and reading. In fact, according to a US Department of Education report on arts education, there is a definite decline in arts education for both elementary and middle school students. Despite this, students derive the best benefit from a well-rounded education in all the subjects of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
Although some schools may lack sufficient STEAM education, there are plenty of STEAM camps and after school enrichment opportunities. For example, MathWizard offers a few summer camps which focus on math, science, and writing with art, reading, and writing applications.
Whether schools offer STEAM education, or parents will need to find alternative STEAM education through summer camps, there are some characteristics of both that make for a great STEAM instruction.
- STEAM teachers will make students responsible for their own learning.
- The importance of curiosity and creativity is stressed with STEAM curriculum.
- Every lesson is an opportunity for hands-on learning.
- Students are encouraged to collaborate and communicate.
Does your school have STEAM education?
Author: Nicole Acevedo, Program Manager at MathWizard, Inc.