Purposefully designing STEAM-centered curriculum can make fields like computing and space exploration interesting and approachable for youth.

4 ways a STEAM-centered curriculum is critical to youth education

Purposefully designing STEAM programming can make fields such as computing, AI, and space exploration interesting and approachable for youth

Statistically, students with an integrated STEAM education have higher English and math test scores, better school attendance, fewer suspensions, and higher graduation rates. Our research confirms that these students also exercise more, are more likely to play on sports teams, are happier with their bodies, and use substances at lower rates. In addition, they have greater confidence in reading and are more interested in career advancement, more engaged in school, and better prepared for life after high school.

This relevance is not arbitrary. COVID-19 and the spotlight on science have highlighted the importance and urgent need of a STEAM-educated workforce. From envisioning accelerated vaccine science to the application of pharmaceutical design, resulting in the implementation of health care strategies, there are countless ways a STEAM-centered curriculum and education can set the stage for humankind’s greatest discoveries.

If educators fully embrace this concept today, they can redirect learning loss and pave the way for tomorrow’s educational advancements. Here are four ways to successfully unlock the benefits of a STEAM-centered curriculum:

  • Train teachers to integrate art into their math and science lesson plans. There are various certifications for STEAM teaching, yet many teachers believe that simply incorporating tasks such as drawing and coloring into their lesson plans and homework assignments easily transforms STEM learning modules into STEAM learning modules. Teachers who are trained to approach curriculum development with an integrated lens can instruct students’ well-rounded learning skills, more directly support various learning needs, and develop a deeper level of engagement with their general student audiences.
  • Introduce design, drawing, and visual problem-solving in early math and science subjects. Without arts integration, students may feel compelled to separate their proficiencies and only think of topics in isolation. Young students will think of math as math and science as science without a way to tie them together. Through the arts, young learners bridge concepts through infographics, storytelling and ephemeral projects. A STEAM-centered curriculum bolsters complex problem-solving and enhances their curiosities.
  • Stabilize and increase funding for arts classes in elementary, middle, and high schools by including equipment that integrates a STEAM-centered curriculum in classrooms, such as 3D printers and science labs with visual art materials. The Every Student Succeeds Act provides federal funding for states’ public education budgets to pay for arts programs in public schools. This law protects funding for STEAM education and provides a platform for education budgets to pay for facilities and learning equipment that convert schools into STEAM learning centers through materials and classroom modifications.
  • Expose students to careers early by planning and taking them on STEAM field trips. This can be tours and hands-on activities at food production units, fabrication plants, design centers, and art museums. Children and students can visualize themselves as learners and career-ready individuals when shown real-world applications of what they learn in the classroom. Access to STEAM professionals can also form mentoring relationships, assist with college navigation, and ultimately open doors to relevant, satisfying and high-paying positions.

Our society faces both significant challenges and opportunities related to STEAM education, from the global pandemic to climate change, and from vocational and skilled labor shortages to developments in artificial intelligence, health care, space exploration, and green energy.

By developing meaningful and purposefully designed STEAM programming that makes these fields both interesting and approachable for youth, we can chart the course forward and prepare future generations to be resilient future-thinking leaders.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at submissions@eschoolmedia.com.