At its most basic, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Alternatively, STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. STEAM education is far more than just sticking those subject titles together. It’s a philosophy of education that embraces teaching skills and subjects in a way that resembles real life.
The key component of STEAM is integration. Instead of teaching disciplines in independent subject silos, lessons are well rounded, project and inquiry based, with a focus on interdisciplinary learning. STEAM aligns with the way we work, and problem-solve in our daily lives making it an exceptional way of instructing and learning. With STEAM we are teaching skills the way they will be used in the workforce, and the real world. Rarely does a job require only one skill set like math. Picture an architect, they use science, math, engineering and technology to do their jobs. The subjects do not work on their own, instead they are woven together in practical and seamless ways allowing the architect to design complex buildings.
STEAM embraces the 4 C’s identified as key in 21st Century education: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Most importantly, by incorporating inquiry-based principles and a highly adaptable framework to suit students of various needs, STEAM helps to foster a love of learning, the most important gift an education should give a student.