The STEM to STEAM movement has been growing as a positive educational model to meet the needs of a 21st-century economy. STEM alone misses several key components that many employers, educators, and parents have expressed as critical for our children to flourish today and in the rapidly approaching future.
STEAM is an educational method that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student exploration, discussion, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, mentors, leaders, and learners of the 21st century. STEAM takes learning to the next level. It allows students to connect their learning through art practices, foundations, design principles, and standards. STEAM eliminates restrictions and replaces them with wonder, critique, inquiry, and innovation.
STEAM’s foundations lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process-based learning. The entire idea surrounding the STEAM approach is that it’s based around deep experiential inquiry. Investigation, curiosity, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity are foundational. STEAM-based projects are hands-on, reality-based lessons that cater to developing divergent thinking and implementation of skills. Lessons are built to accommodate the broad spectrum of learning styles and abilities at all grade levels. These lessons expose students to up to date context, field discoveries, inventions, and the world beyond the community they live in. STEAM experiences are an exciting way of learning, promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and application of knowledge. STEAM is a model that uses the Arts as a lever to explosive learning, social-emotional connections, and the foundation for the innovators of tomorrow…today.