STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, has recently been joined by Art to form STEAM. But the addition of art has not been without opposition. No one contests the need for more in-depth knowledge of math and science nor the need to be able to apply that knowledge in real-life scenarios. But some question the need for a formal art designation since all engineering designs by nature include art. Art is used to plan the layout of a tower, the design of a prosthetic hand, and the colors of the latest app. As long as the project is inquiry-based and the child has the opportunity to think critically, creatively, and innovatively, then you are looking at a STEAM curriculum. But because the transition of terminology from STEM to STEAM is still tentative, while we used the term STEAM last year, this year we are returning to STEM for clarity’s sake.
It Is Everywhere!
STEM learning is more than robotics and computer programming. STEM tools also include those that engage students in exploratory learning, discovery, and problem solving that teach the foundational skills of critical thinking and short- and long-term planning. So STEM technically includes your Extraordinaires Design Studio and your Doodle America book as well as your XOXO Logic game and your StopMotion Explosion Kit, even though they are listed under other subjects on this site. Basically anything that goes beyond a rote read-and-regurgitate lesson undoubtedly falls into the STEM classification.