Teachers are doing their job when they are engaging their students and teaching them content knowledge and skills. They are even better teachers when they can incorporate real world lessons into their curriculum which challenge students to think not only critically but creatively as well. Not sure how to do that? This is where STEAM come in.
When educators are talking about STEAM they are referring to “a framework for teaching that is based on natural ways of learning, customizable for all types of students and programs and is functional” (STEAM – Educators, 2015, para. 4). Many educators may be familiar with the framework of STEM. STEAM incorporates “the addition of the arts to the original STEM framework is important as practices, such as modeling, developing explanations, and engaging in critique, and evaluation (argumentation), have too often been under emphasized in the context of math & science education” (“The Movement Towards…”, 2018, para. 3). The argumentation phase can be compared and linked to Puentedura’s SAMR Model.
STEAM has been shown to be a benefit for schools. It has been “showing success in schools all around the world to better teach academic and life skills in a standards-backed, reality-based, personally relevant exploratory learning environment” (STEAM – Educators, 2015, para. 6). Students are being given real world examples and are growing in skills that they will be using in the future.
What Does STEAM Do?
STEAM adds a lot of benefits to the classroom.
This application “empowers teachers to employ project-based learning that crosses all 5 disciplines (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) and fosters an inclusive learning environment where all students are able to engage and contribute” (“The Movement Towards…”, 2018, para. 4). Teachers are adding in assessments that require students to think creatively and critically among five basic disciplines of education.
- STEAM “aims to spark an interest and life long love of the arts and sciences in children from an early age” (“The Movement Towards…”, 2018, para. 2).
- When completing a STEAM project, “all involve creative processes and none uses just one method for inquiry and investigation” (“The Movement Towards…”, 2018, para. 2). A combination of the five are always used together.
- Giving students the experience “to these disciplines holistically in order to develop their critical thinking skills” (“The Movement Towards…”, 2018, para. 8). Students will begin to learn to think outside of the box and how to problem solve on a more daily basis.
STEAM is More Than Just Projects
STEAM is not just for creating projects or following a framework to get students to think critically and creatively. When teachers use STEAM, it “means understanding learning contextually; not only in terms of having a framework that illustrates where the subjects overlap, but also in providing a living and adaptable learning structure for ever-changing personal and global development” (STEAM – Educators, 2015, para. 5). Teachers need to understand that student learning is going to continue to change as well as the world around them. STEAM is aimed to lower the differences of understanding and prepare students for the future to come.
Example of Steam Projects
Dziengel, A. (2018). 25 STEAM projects for kids. Retrieved from https://babbledabbledo.com/25-steam-projects-for-kids/
Schrock, K. (2017). SAMR. Retrieved from http://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html
STEAM – Educators. (2015). Retrieved from https://steamedu.com/about-us/educators/
The Movement Towards a STEAM Education in Schools. (2018). Retrieved from https://onlinedegrees.sandiego.edu/steam-education-in-schools/
28 Days of STEAM Projects for Kids. (2018). Retrieved from https://leftbraincraftbrain.com/28-days-of-steam-projects-for-kids/