STEM and STEAM are two educational curriculums that combine the essential skills for a child's future career. STEM and STEAM differ only by the introduction of Arts.
Fields such as art and creativity are crucial in today's market, giving rise to STEM and STEAM education debate.
So, what's the difference between STEM and STEAM? We access both techniques so you can decide which one is best for your child's educational development.
What Is STEM?
STEM is an educational curriculum that combines the four core subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM combines these four disciplines and focuses on how they interact rather than teaching each of them as a separate subject.
STEM education includes projects that incorporate elementary knowledge of these elements and put them together for good use.
STEM activities include projects like building a bridge and basic computer programming.
STEM was introduced by Dr. Judith Ramaley of the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in 2001. Various editions and additions have been made to STEM education in the following years, such as in 2006 with STEAM education.
What Is STEAM?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths. This education method focuses on teaching the children the main fundamental basics of science and technology but takes it one step further by including the arts.
STEAM education allows students to broaden their education past the scientific, engineering, and technological subjects and fields, encouraging them to explore their creative and artistic abilities such as Music and Reading.
What Is The Importance of STEM Education?
In addition to creating a science-conscious generation with a basic understanding of the world's technological advancement, STEM education can also help improve students' employability.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth of STEM occupations is predicted to increase by up to 8% in 10 years, compared to only 3% for non-STEM.
Not only that, but according to the same statistics sheet, the median annual wage of a STEM occupation is about $86,980. In comparison, non-STEM occupations have a median yearly salary of about $38,160 in the same year.
Why Adding the 'A' in STEM is a Game Changer
When comparing regular STEM education to the STEAM approach, you'll quickly notice the various benefits of making a move. Here are some of these perks:
1. All the Benefits of STEM Plus Extra
One of the benefits of STEAM education is that it still carries all the values and core advantages of STEM education.
Students will have a much better understanding of the elements of science, technology, engineering, and maths.
The only difference is that including arts will also foster the students' ability to appreciate their artistic sides and might even adapt them to science concepts to create something extraordinary.
It might be wrong to think of science and arts as two different things. Although today's world encourages specification with a basic understanding of the general concepts, some of the greatest minds throughout history were called "polymaths."
For example, Leonardo Da Vinci, regarded as one of the most diversely talented humans to ever lived, showed humanity tons of examples of what combining arts with science can make.
2. Build Resilience and Pair Ingenuity with Creativity
With a broader scope of perspective and applying the scientific values of trial and error to the creative value of arts, the students will build a much better reliance against mistakes.
This is because STEAM education stresses the importance of embracing failures and accepting them as a part of the learning experience.
3. Even the Transition Process Will Teach Them Something Valuable
STEM education can embrace the true values of teamwork and encourages students to communicate with each other. However, you can also do STEM activities individually.
The best thing about STEAM education is that it takes teamwork to another level. Arts are all about sharing thoughts and working on something more significant with a wider margin of error and a more welcoming approach towards new ideas.
4. Practice Critical Thinking in a Creative Way
STEAM projects and activities are all about assessing the information and critical thinking. The student evaluates various solutions in which they have to go across different fields of science and arts to make a way to look at a specific problem and come up with a comprehensive solution.
5. Bridges the Gaps of Gender and Ethnicity
According to the National Girls Collaborative Project, women are highly underrepresented in science and technology despite being on par with their male peers, making up only 28% of the workforce in STEM fields.
The same goes for ethnicities, with people of colour being less represented and earning much less.
New educational approaches like STEM and STEAM will help girls and people of colour become more familiar with the fields of the modern age and the market requirements in current employees.
6. Allow Students to Appreciate Arts from a Different Perspective
Lastly, while STEM is a great educational approach, STEAM has the extra merit of incorporating the arts with science fields, giving the students a new perspective on art and working flawlessly and hand in hand with fields like science, engineering, technology.
Today, a lot of art programs are at considerable risk in favour of STEM education. By incorporating arts in STEAM education programs, students, teachers, and parents will benefit. All these fields will work together to help the students lead successful careers in various fields.
How to Get Your Children Interested in STEM or STEAM Education
To get your children and students interested in either STEM or STEAM education systems is by keeping them engaged in various STEM and STEAM activities.
What's great about these activities is that they don't have to be specific or follow a strict route. Instead, you can try out various STEM or STEAM activities related to your child's or students' interests.
These interests include cooking, building, crafting, playing, competing, and solving. The best part is that the interest is full of tons of STEAM and STEM activities that target different scientific and technological fields.
Which Type of Education is Better for Your Children?
With that said, you now know the difference between STEM and STEAM Education. In comparison, although the conventional STEM system is a great model for scientific and critical education. It might be falling short on creativity and innovation due to the lack of art.
If you're considering expansion into the world of STEAM education, you don't have to worry. The STEAM community is beneficial and supportive, so they'll guide you to tons of resources that will help you adapt and incorporate arts into your STEM education.