STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education has long been a priority for educators. However, in the modern era of education, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics) has been gaining traction as a powerful way to provide adolescents and young adults with a well-rounded education. STEAM education is still relatively new and may revolutionize how we educate our youth. By providing students with an education that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills, STEAM can help prepare them for success in the modern world.
Though science and technology have been at the forefront of education since the 1980s, the term STEM became popular in the early 2000s. Educators initially framed STEM as an educational equality initiative; the idea driving the new curriculum was that integrating critical thinking and language skills would enrich students’ academic careers and help them compete in the global marketplace.
STEAM education is the new kid on the block regarding education initiatives. While still emphasizing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the critical difference is that STEAM also adds the arts into the mix. This new philosophy for education suggests that by weaving creativity and imagination with the areas of study in STEM, students will gain high-level critical thinking skills that can be useful in this innovative era.
Seven Benefits of STEAM Activities and Projects
Get Ahead in The Real World: Demand for STEM and STEAM occupations has been on a steady upward trend over the past three decades, increasing by 79%, but as demand grows for a STEAM-focused workforce, only 20 percent of students leave high school prepared for college-level STEAM curriculum. By introducing children to these subjects at a young age, they can develop an interest in them and learn the skills they need to succeed in these careers.
Develop Critical Thinking Skills: A STEAM curriculum can help children develop essential thinking skills by requiring them to undertake projects encouraging observation and comparison of complex ideas. Critical thinking is one of the most valuable tools students can develop, essential in STEAM careers.
Encourage Creativity: Every career requires creativity to some extent. STEAM education encourages creativity, especially by including arts in STEAM’s curriculum. By combining artistic elements into projects related to math and science, students are encouraged to use their creative thinking process.
Establish a Love of Learning: With the added element of the arts, STEAM education helps children engage with the concepts taught meaningfully and relevantly. When you make education more engaging, students retain the information and develop a love of learning.
Build Confidence and Self-Esteem: Whenever students learn something new, it is an opportunity for their self-esteem to grow. Positive experiences with essential subjects like those in STEAM reinforce their belief in themselves. When students can complete a STEAM project, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride, which helps boost their self-esteem and makes them more confident in their abilities.
Improve Social Skills: STEAM education emphasizes developing communication and expression skills. Skills of this type are essential in STEAM careers and personal relationships – they can help to strengthen bonds among friends, family, community, and colleagues.
Stimulate Curiosity: When students are encouraged to be curious about various topics in education, they ask more profound questions throughout their lives. They are also learning to be independent learners, unafraid to challenge authority and seek new information. Curiosity can contribute to a lifetime of learning and discovery, which will enrich their quality of life.
STEAM Programs at Thanksgiving Point
Want to get your child involved in STEAM learning activities? Girls in STEAM at Thanksgiving Point is a great program that invites children of any gender identity who want to be a part of a female-empowering group. Alternatively, check out Thanksgiving Point’s Youth and Teen Programs for more ways to strengthen your child’s cognitive muscles.