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STEAM: Thinking Outside of the ‘STEM’ Box

by Matt Zalaznick

District Administration

Article excerpt

Putting the “A” in STEAM

The rising popularity of blended STEAM programs reflects a nationwide K12 push to develop the next generation of innovators. Injecting the arts into science, math, engineering and technology encourages students to think creatively and critically in traditional STEM subjects that, until the recent and widespread adoption of new standards, didn’t often encourage students to think outside the box.

Our take

STEAM: A Marriage Between Arts and Sciences

STEM education isn’t about memorizing formulas and calculating problems, at least it shouldn’t be. STEAM is emerging as an enhancement of STEM to incorporate considerations of the learning process into the equation, focusing on the encouragement of creativity and critical thinking. How could you incorporate the arts into science, technology and math instruction?

Creativity isn’t just the domain of traditionally art-focused instruction. Creativity is required in science, technology, engineering and math as well. Combining art instruction in ways that work in alignment with “the arts” can help better engage students around topics that may sometimes seem daunting. Think about ways that you might use various elements of the arts to drive home STEM-related lessons. Music can lead to a discussion of sound waves. Drawing can lead to a review of geometric shapes and spatial relationships. Design can help augment discussions on engineering.