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The Benefits of Converting STEM Programs to STEAM

Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) programs have become a staple in most schools. When educators realized that curriculum had tilted too far in the direction of English Language Arts, they knew a change was necessary. Children deserve a balanced education that teaches them about new topics and ideas so they can develop interests to pursue. These STEM programs have made a noticeable difference in how children think about ideas and experiments across disciplines. Teachers are now responsible for teaching reading across all content areas as well, which has helped tip the scales back into balance. Many felt that, while balanced, education was missing a key component: art.

Sharing Ideas Across Disciplines

Leonardo da Vinci combined engineering, science and art. He demonstrated the importance of knowing how to sketch ideas and complicated plans. Following his example, many school programs have introduced art into their STEM programs — now STEAM — as a way to help students creatively solve their problems and share ideas. Often, using technology in the classroom is a way teachers can bring these STEAM tools to their students. In this way students learn how different disciplines approach the same ideas.

Teaching Reading Across STEAM

When teachers begin teaching reading across disciplines, they offer greater comprehension and increased interest to students, who learn that their interests relate to classroom lessons. This is a complex approach to education. Prior to art’s inclusion in the STEM education, programs were missing one of the disciplines that transformed how humans see the world. By using technology in the classroom, teachers can share with students that artists have been creating for centuries alongside the development of science, technology, engineering and math. This is a far-reaching thinking process that cannot help but benefit children.

Learning to Sketch Can Help Foster Sharing

There are many teachers who firmly believe in teaching children to draw a picture of their math problems before solving them. Many children balk and claim that they do not know how to draw. Studies have shown that mathematicians and engineers feel just the same. They do not feel capable of drawing or sketching their thoughts. So when teachers take time for guided drawing or sketching, they help their students see that they can indeed do quick, informal quick sketches to share their thoughts with others. This also helps when teaching reading and asking students to draw their thoughts on the material.

The benefits of STEAM are clear. When children learn across disciplines, they are more engaged in how the world works. More often than not, people look at a given idea from multiple perspectives. It makes sense then that when teaching reading, teachers ask students to look at one idea or concept from many different angles. This rigorous way of thinking and learning about the world may make students more creative thinkers and activists who work to solve problems.

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Sources:

Fountain, H. (2014, November 1). Putting Art in STEM. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/02/education/edlife/putting-art-in-stem.html?_r=0

STEM vs. STEAM: Why The “A” Makes a Difference. (2015, January 21). Retrieved from http://www.edudemic.com/stem-vs-steam-why-the-a-makes-all-the-difference/


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