STEAM is an educational initiative created by the Rhode Island School of Design that adds the arts to the original STEM framework. According to the Rhode Island School of Design, “The goal is to foster the true innovation that comes with combining the mind of a scientist or technologist with that of an artist or designer.” 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 underemphasized in the context of math & science education.
Why is STEAM education important?
The introduction of STEAM into Emmanuel’s curriculum has distinct benefits for the overall education of our students. STEAM encourages the development of creative problem-solving skills, inventive thinking, imaginative design capabilities, and obtaining a more well-rounded skill set to tackle challenges. These skills can lead to greater success in STEM careers such as engineering and finance.
The STEAM approach helps develop confident, competent learners by leveraging the topics where art and STEM naturally intersect – STEAM subject matter also has the added benefit of showcasing the value of the arts, by highlighting the inherent role they have in all areas of STEM.
Fun classroom activity ideas are plentiful and Emmanuel is fully embracing the introduction of the arts into our curricula.
STEAM’s foundations lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process-based learning. The entire idea surrounding STEAM lessons and the STEAM approach is that it’s based around questioning, and really deep questioning. We want to start asking non-Googleable questions.
Inquiry, curiosity, being able to find solutions to a problem, and being creative in the finding of the solutions is at the heart of this approach. This means that the humanities are woven into STEAM just like everything else.
Using STEAM does not mean letting english, language arts, or social studies go to the wayside. STEAM lessons are used with those ideas, because it’s fundamentally built upon asking really good questions, and then seeking solutions to the problems that are presented in those content areas.
This approach to learning is certainly not an easy task, but the benefits to students and the entire school community are tremendous. Students and teachers engaged in STEAM make more real-life connections so that school is not a place where you go to learn but instead becomes the entire experience of learning itself. We are always learning, always growing, always experimenting. School doesn’t have to be a place, but rather a frame of mind that uses the Arts as a lever to explosive growth, social-emotional connections, and the foundation for the innovators of tomorrow … today!