STEAM vs STEM, what’s the difference? How do they change your child’s educational path? What should you prioritize as a parent?
For many educational institutions, there’s an increased need to integrate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts with the arts (the A in STEAM). This integration functions across the entirety of some curriculums, bring creativity into other fields of study.
As an array of industries broadcast the need for future employees to be more flexible, with broader skills, the STEAM vs STEM debate takes over. Often, teachers in STEAM settings see students gain a better understanding of the connections between concepts.
Moreover, they begin to solve problems in innovative ways. Additionally, they demonstrate this through more active engagement, often culminating in an enthusiastic “aha!” moment.
What Sets Them Apart?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. On the other hand, STEAM stands for the same with the inclusion of Arts. In this case, arts range across language, drama, dance, music, design, visual arts, new media, and the humanities.
The core difference between the two is that STEM focuses more explicitly on the scientific concepts at the core of their fields. Typically, STEAM looks at the same concepts. However, the program investigates these concepts through problem-based learning methods and inquiry often associated with creativity.
So, what does that look like in a classical school, for example? Often, this looks like groups of students who work together. They collaborate to create a visually appealing product.
Alternatively, they might study an object rooted in the understanding of a STEM concept. For instance, they might use their knowledge of math as they create art with a parabola.
By no means is STEAM a new concept, though. We can look back to historical figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci to see the importance in the overlap of science and art in investigation and innovation.
Moreover, Indigenous Australians have a long-standing tradition of using songs to share scientific knowledge. The basis is using creativity to help the memory.
The Importance of STEAM
Often, people debate STEAM vs STEM. However, the reality is that the added A merely helps open scientific concepts to a broader set of learning styles. In schools, STEAM education offers students an opportunity to learn more creatively.
They use modern problem solving to investigate concepts in a more hands-on learning experience. Across industries, companies continue to highlight the importance of all these skills in the future workplace. While it might sound strange to introduce the idea of a future-ready workforce to children, it helps to prepare them for an array of careers.
Moreover, problem-solving skills apply to real life in many ways, allowing students to grow into fully developed adults and contributing members of society. As we continue to grow, it’s important to look to the future and the importance of connection, community, culture, and care.
STEAM in Practical Applications
When it comes to STEAM, more and more schools provide hands-on learning experiences. In some schools, they call these “maker spaces.” The goal is to encourage collaboration as students learn and discover, using tech and science to solve problems.
More and more, we begin to see these learning methods creep into curricula across the country. With more cross-curriculum learning, we see arts used to contextualize STEM subjects and vice versa.
So, as it concerns STEAM vs STEM, the idea of “what if?” depends more on the imagination of teachers and the curiosity of their students. Additionally, it requires a communal sense of collaboration.
STEAM vs STEM in Private Schools
Innovate research and resources help to realize the intersection of art and science. Truly, all these fields share a breadth of potential to influence one another. Moreover, they open more students up to new possibilities.
As we move past STEAM vs STEM, we use these ideas to integrate subjects with one another. This allows more students to access and understand different fields. It changes the way we see STEM problems as well, offering a new way to learn and think in an engaging curriculum.