Over the years, an increasing amount of schools nationwide have incorporated the STEM framework into their curriculum, engaging students around the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and math. The framework has proved to be a critical component to elementary education that better prepares students’ for future careers, especially since the United States is expecting to see more than three million job openings in the STEM-related fields in 2018. Recently, however, educators have recognized the benefits of integrating arts education into STEM subjects, which has led to a new framework.
STEAM education is a cross-curricular learning style and allows for students to go at their own pace with hands-on learning and lesson plans, all while including the arts sector. If schools begin to implement STEAM programs at the elementary levels, students could gain knowledge in the arts discipline and truly elevate their entire educational careers.
Adding art and design into the open-ended, inquiry-based approach associated with STEM has already made a significant impact in elementary learning, as the approach puts value back into storytelling and creative thinking that benefits young learners in a multitude of ways.
1. Encourages unique problem-solving
STEAM removes limitations from the STEM curriculum and replaces them with wonder, critique, inquiry and innovation—all while living under the arts discipline. The most valuable aspect of STEAM education is its ability to reach all levels of knowledge.
When a problem or challenge is at hand, students are encouraged to work through the solution using science and technology, with a creative mindset, while leveraging the arts. STEAM objectives stress the importance of educators remaining patient when students are working to discover their own solutions. Guiding young learners requires them to systematically think through problems and apply information in unique ways to creatively problem-solve.