Imagine this: You’re a teacher at a school that’s been on board with STEM since the first little whispers about how it can provide unique learning experiences centered on 21st-century skills. You and the other teachers at your school encourage students to stretch their critical thinking skills and complete projects, but after a couple of years, the STEM program has lost its zest. It needs to grow and to work better for staff and students–but no one is quite sure what would add that extra spark.

That’s what led us to infuse arts into our science, technology, engineering and math program. A little more than three years ago, our new principal made the decision to transition our school from STEM to STEAM.

Related content: Don’t forget about the A in STEAM

We knew the “A” in STEAM was important for our students. When we did STEM lessons and activities, we found some kids felt blocked off creatively and felt that inspiration was hard to come by. When we added the “A” and transitioned from STEM to STEAM, things changed. We started teaching the arts standards alongside other content standards, and we found our spark.

About the Author:

Alana Davis is the innovation specialist at Mableton Elementary School in Cobb County, Ga. In 2017, she was the Georgia Elementary Science Teacher of the Year and has been involved in the CCSD Teacher Leader Academy and several STEAM Innovation Academies. In 2019, she was named a Sphero Hero, which recognizes pioneer teachers who use Sphero app-enabled robots and other educational tools to transform teaching and learning in their classrooms and beyond.