Why STEAM Education?

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) is an important movement in education. Our partner Susan Riley, the founder of EducationCloset and one of the nation’s leader STEAM advocates, defines the movement as such:

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, 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, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century. Susan Riley, founder of EducationCloset

In practice, STEAM is defined as arts integration, an approach to teaching and learning through which content standards are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts. It’s the intentional weaving of academic study – typically math, science, social studies, and English and language arts – with arts disciplines such as visual art, dance, music, and theater.

The Benefits of STEAM Education

  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. Teachers who use STEAM arts integration curricula in their classrooms report a dramatic decrease in off-task behavior and more than 20 percent reduction in classroom disruptions.
  4. STEAM is inclusive. 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.
  5. A creative approach 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 Education Results

STEAM makes teaching and learning fun and engaging for teachers and students. However, the reason that arts integration is being widely adopted is simple: STEAM and arts integration works. Students learn more and they retain more of what they learn. The research is clear; STEAM is a better way to teach STEM.

Title I Funding

Title I Funded School Percentage
Along with EducationCloset, Learn It By Art distributed Art Integration Kits to 30 classroom teachers across the country. Of the 399 K-2 students who were taught with the kits, 289 were in schools that are Title I funded.

Improved Proficiency Test Scores

Percentage Point Increase
All groups of students who were taught with Art Integration Kits experienced gains in the total number of students who were proficient, but Title I students improved most of all, with an impressive 37 percentage point increase in the number of proficient students.

K-2 Student Proficiency

K 2 Student Proficiency
In the student, across all groups of students, K-2 proficiency increased from 55.6 percent to 88.5 percent, a 32.9 percentage point improvement!

Wheeler Integrated Arts Academy Math Scores (3rd Grade)

Math Proficiency Scores
In 2009, Wheeler Integrated Arts Academy in Burlington, Vermont, embarked on a journey to integrate the Arts in its core curriculum. The result? Their percentage of 3rd grade students who tested proficient in math rose from 17 percent in 2008 to 66 percent in 2015. The result? Their percentage of 3rd grade students who tested proficient in math rose from 17 percent in 2008 to 66 percent in 2015.

How to Get Started

If you’re interested in implementing STEAM in your classroom or school, Learn It By Art is your one-stop resource for the latest news, research, and lesson plans. Here are just a few of the resources we offer:

Learn It By Art Blog

The Learn It By Art blog is focused on the worldwide STEAM movement, including leading research and classroom activities.

Free STEAM Lesson Plans

Our simply formatted, easy-to-use STEAM lesson plans are a great first step for teachers or parents who are interested in trying out STEAM. Our lessons provide step-by-step instruction as well as a complete list of materials you’ll need. Come back often – we’ll be posting new lesson plans regularly.

Online Resources

Learn It By Art’s mission is to support the larger STEAM movement, and this area of our site features links to some of the leading organizations in this emerging area of education.

Art Integration Kits

Because STEAM can be time-consuming, difficult, and expensive to implement in the classroom, we’ve developed STEAM Art Integration Kits that provide weeks of STEAM projects and curriculum for a class of 30 students – each created in partnership with Susan Riley and EducationCloset.