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Full STEAM Ahead

STEAM + STEM Education Resources and Project Ideas for Teachers

It’s hard to remember a time when STEM fields – that’s science, technology, engineering, and math – weren’t the top priority in education. But as STEM pedagogy and practices have evolved, STEAM is gathering momentum – that’s STEM, but with an arts component (inclusive of the humanities, language arts, and fine arts) fully integrated. STEAM doesn’t detract from traditional STEM subjects or lowering standards. Instead, it makes STEM education even more effective. STEAM education takes STEM learning and kicks it up a notch by applying creative thinking, imagination, and design skills – typically through project-based learning. As STEM education matures, and the prevalence of STEM professions continue to grow, there’s a clear need for students to utilize skills that are derived from artistic experiences – benefitting their educational pursuits and future professional endeavors.

The inclusion of arts learning into STEM education has distinct benefits. STEAM encourages the development of creative problem-solving skills, inventive thinking, imaginative design capabilities, and obtaining a more well-rounded skillset to tackle challenges. These skills can correlate to greater success in STEM careers such as engineering and finance. Professional STEM fields have suffered from a persistent lack of diversity, but incorporating the arts empowers students who may have felt discouraged. 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. And finally, the inclusion of arts in STEM learning can help develop higher levels of subject knowledge for students who pursue artistic professions.

How can you start incorporating STEAM education? Adding an arts component to your students’ STEM experience is easy for any age group or level, or starting point. Fun classroom activity ideas are plentiful. Curricula opportunities range from taking planned STEM lessons and adding in an arts component or perspective, to developing STEAM plans that fully integrate arts education from the very start. Both can be accomplished with varied student abilities, needs, and goals in mind. There is also incredible opportunity for professional development, such as advanced degree programs for STEAM educators. There are also many STEAM education resources to choose from – STEAM-focused conferences, online courses, and webinars to discover additional classroom ideas and hands-on projects.

STEM vs. STEAM

Emerging STEAM education takes STEM learning a step further, adding an integrated arts component. STEAM evolved from the need to drive better creative, innovative, and well-rounded problem-solving skills. STEAM education addresses gaps in STEM learning, creating connections between the disciplines and providing elements like cultural relevance and imaginative approaches to challenges.

 
 
 

STEAM Activities and Projects

STEAM classroom ideas and lessons can be found in surprising and fun places, from creating your own wintry weather to hands-on understanding of where our food comes from. Add intentional creative components to STEM activities, and turn projects into full-out STEAM learning opportunities. Start here for STEAM resources and materials, project ideas, and more.

STEAM Education for Special Needs Students

Special needs students benefit immensely from the hands-on, explorative learning with STEAM, but they often miss out on opportunities traditional students receive. By using STEM and STEAM classroom ideas and making simple tweaks to the physical space or lesson instructions, students can reap the rewards of engaging in STEAM learning.

 
 
 

STEAM Education Grants

Dreaming of a STEAM idea, but lacking money? Private and governmental grants can help. Varying from mini-grants for classroom projects to larger, multi-year district initiatives, some focus on broad STEAM education and others provide for deeper learning in areas like robotics, space, or mathematics. Funds are also available for professional development for STEAM educators and teachers-to-be.

 
 
 

STEAM Professional Development

As STEAM education is constantly evolving, so are educator careers. There are extensive STEM and STEAM resources to keep your professional knowledge current, especially as STEM learning continues to progress toward STEAM. Opportunities range from enhancing your education with an advanced, STEAM-focused degree to bolstering your teaching toolkit with STEAM-related conferences and more.

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