You have STEM, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Then there's STEAM, with the 'A' standing for arts. "We need to bring the arts into the STEAM because that's what's giving the creativity to be creative and to incorporate that into the STEM process," said Syracuse Schools Superintendent Jaime Alicea. But, that's not the feeling across the board.
A solution that I have seen work is to increase the focus on STEAM in the classroom so that we don’t inadvertently squander the progress made this past year. We can do this by collectively committing to teacher training programs, investing in long-lasting edtech classroom products, and enhancing curriculums to emphasize coding in every subject.
"Many toys and children's products on the market are labeled as being STEM- or STEAM-focused, but in reality, there is no universally accepted system for understanding what this label means," said Ken Seiter, executive vice president of marketing communications at The Toy Association. "That's why The Toy Association has embarked on a multi-year undertaking to bring more clarity to STEM/STEAM.
The Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus and the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics Caucus hosted technology companies and HBCU presidents and leaders on Capitol Hill for the first HBCU STEAM Day of Action.
While attention is being given to STE(A)M clubs, subjects and teachers, it is important to bring everyone's attention to the idea as the lynchpin of a larger shift. Yes, we have written about this before, but we think it bears repeating. STE(A)M will fade as just another fad unless school leaders and teachers build a foundation for it across the system.
STEM/STEAM education is built around the premise that to effectively teach a growing mind, it is critical to present areas of learning as a whole or the total sum of their parts. As an applied hands-on approach to learning, it instills valuable life skills such as creative problem-solving, critical thinking, and an expansive world view.
For my students, process writing was a great way to reinforce what they were learning in pre-algebra, and reading mathematical fiction such as Chasing Vermeer allowed students to see how math mysteries could be solved. But how does one combine several subjects, such as in STEM, STEAM, and STREAM?
ASTRA joined its partners, including the Prince George’s County Public Schools and the Global NetGeneration of Youth STEM Ambassadors for Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-4) 7th Annual Blastoff! event held on Capitol Hill April 28. Rep. Edwards, who serves as the Ranking Member on the House Science, Space & Technology Committee’s Subcommittee on Space, was a corecipient of this year’s George E. Brown Award, conferred by the ASTRAsupported STEM on The Hill TM Congressional Visits Day event on March 17.
In January 2015, Wolf Trap announced results of a four-year study, which showed that students are doing better in math, and that the program enhances teacher practice.