What does STEAM stand for? A better way to teach STEM - Learn It By Art®

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As education practices continue to evolve, teachers, administrators and parents are constantly seeking ways of engaging students. One of these practices that is growing in popularity is born from current STEM education programs and is called STEAM education—but what exactly does STEAM stand for?

"STEAM stands for 'Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.' It’s an approach to teaching and learning in which STEM education principles are taught through the arts. It is the intentional weaving of academic study with arts disciplines such as visual art, dance, music, and theater," says national arts integration leader Susan Riley of EducationCloset.com.

Arts integration establishes a hands-on creative learning environment, engaging students with the content on multiple levels and better develop problem solving skills. It’s an approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and math and backed by real-world evidence that it increased test scores in stem subjects.

If you haven’t heard of STEAM education, you’ve likely heard of STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). STEM has redefined and re-energized education by adapting design that has been proven to advance student growth and achievement. Aligning art with established STEM subjects leverages those building blocks while rounding out the lessons by engaging different parts of the brain.

In the education journal Education Week, educator researcher Ruth Catchen says that a well-designed steam program is:

[STEAM is] a great learning tool and can serve as an on-ramp to STEM for underrepresented students. Engaging students’ strengths using art activities increases motivation and the probability of STEM success. [Art is] a way of offering more diverse learning opportunities and greater access to STEM for all types of learners. Ruth Catchen

In order to improve educational outcomes for kids, STEAM education should utilize STEM programs with an art-based learning approach. With the ever increasing global and economic competitive landscape, it is critical we provide our students with the skills to succeed in the real world.

STEAM is Arts Integration with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

STEAM education benefits students of all levels: pre-school, elementary, middle school and high school. Teachers who utilize a STEAM curriculum in the classroom see wide-ranging benefits, including improved student performance, higher levels of engagement and a reduction in disciplinary problems and off-task behavior. Here are a few of the main benefits of STEAM and art integration.

The Benefits of Arts Integration in STEM:

  1. Engaged learning for students: Creating STEAM projects that illustrate STEM concepts empowers students to become part of the teaching process. Through hands-on, creative learning, studies show that students not only learn more – they retain what they learn.
  2. Better test scores: Through our own pilot classrooms and independent, peer-reviewed studies, it’s shown time and again that the engaged learning process created by STEAM leads to better test scores in classrooms.
  3. Improved classroom behavior: Throughout the U.S., educators are looking for ways to bridge the so-called achievement gap. STEAM education is an inclusive curriculum that works for all students, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or learning style. In fact, STEAM arts integration shows increased gains in Title I classrooms. It’s an approach to education that delivers the biggest benefits to the students who need it most.
  4. STEAM education is inclusive: By using art projects as a springboard for teaching STEM, a K-5 STEAM curriculum makes learning fun for students – while improving their learning and test performance. Engaged students learn more and retain more of what they learn.

Brings fun back to the classroom: By using art projects as a springboard for teaching STEM, a K-5 STEAM curriculum makes learning fun for students – while improving their learning and test performance. Engaged students learn more and retain more of what they learn.

STEAM and the Top 10 21st Century Skills

What else does STEAM stand for? STEAM education stands for developing important skills for the 21st century. These skills are far reaching and not limited to the math and science subjects covered in the classroom. In today’s fast-paced, collaborative work environment, STEAM helps prepare students for success in college degree programs or the workplace.

  1. Collaboration - Arts-based education projects encourage and reward students who work well with others.
  2. Communication - Because STEAM is a less rigid educational framework, students must discuss and communicate on the best ways to express STEM subject project through the arts.
  3. Creativity - By uniting science and math with the arts, STEAM education spurs creativity in the left- and right-sides of the brain.
  4. Critical Thinking - STEAM takes students beyond the rote memorization of solutions and facts; by finding and expressing STEM concepts through art, they develop a more critical and deeper understanding of the subject matter.
  5. Innovation - Through creativity and critical thinking skills, each group of students will find the unique ways to express concepts through art, helping foster innovation skills.
  6. Perseverance - Because art naturally keeps students’ attention and encourages working in groups, they are more likely to persevere through difficult projects.
  7. Passion - Art inspires passion in us all, and students who are allowed to express their creativity through learning will embrace the subject matter.
  8. Confidence - By empowering students to learn and create in their own way, educators can help motivate and inspire confidence.
  9. Problem Solving - Art and STEM go hand-in-hand in teaching students how to solve problems in new and novel ways.
  10. Time Management - Because STEAM projects are focused on hands-on learning and classroom participation, students must learn how to effectively manage their time to complete them.

Learn more about Arts Integration in our free e-book, The Art of Learning.

What Does Steam Stand For Pinterest Infographic

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