STEAM- Putting the A in STEM
The need for increased STEM education has been well-documented and recommendations on implementation have been ongoing for over a decade. The logic was simple. In order to be ready to take their place in the world and participate in a global economy, tomorrow’s employees need to hold degrees in engineering, computer science and other technological disciplines. School systems responded. They have:
But the question is: Is that enough?
The answer is a resounding no!
Solving the problems of the future indeed needs technical knowledge and skill. However, beyond that, it needs an education of application of ideas, experimentation of new and different materials and creativity. In short, it needs the arts.
STEAM is a way to take all of the problem solving skills, understanding of the scientific and engineering principles and integrating them through the arts. Most of our ground breaking inventions have come from a sense of wonder and asking "what if….?" For example, the Wright brothers had to put their understanding of the principles of flight to work to get off the ground in North Carolina. But their success was also born of creativity and design. STEAM completes the STEM package.
The decision to make your STEM program into a STEAM program can seem daunting and very time consuming. Luckily there are ample resources available with a quick look online. Here are a few of our favorite:
STEAM Picture Books
Picture Books are a wonderful way to inspire students and set the stage for a STEAM project. Each year Bank Street College of Education awards the Cook Prize for STEM books. These particular books not only educate students on a particular topic but also incorporate art through beautiful illustrations and photographs. Here are just a few of the winners
Your Place in the Universe
By Jason Chin
This is the perfect book to use while studying the planets and space. The beautifully illustrated pictures help emphasize the topic of where you fit in the universe.
Perkin’s Perfect Purple
By Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn
This is the true story of William Henry Perkin, a scientist, who discovered a way to make synthetic purple. Before his discovery, purple was only available to a very few because it was so expensive to make – and included such things as bugs, plants and urine. While working on a cure for malaria, he discovered something else. This is a wonderful book to emphasize the marriage of science and art.
By Sarah C. Campbell
Repeating patterns in nature are called fractals. This beautiful book gives examples that are found in parks, rivers and backyards. This book is a wonderful way to integrate science, math and art.
How to Begin
Many of the activities that we view as art are actually based in one of the STEM areas.
We encourage you to look for opportunities to add the A to STEM this year. Art is an important part of our society and an art education empowers our 21st century future work force to be innovative and creative problem solvers.
Wendy and Cheryl
Get Caught Engineering®
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