What is STEAM education? STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics and it is a modern education philosophy that encourages students to be wrong, to try multiple ideas, listen to alternate opinions, and create a knowledge base that is outside the confines of an exam.
STEAM education comes from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). STEM focuses on the traditional education philosophy of teaching children the skills they will need to compete in a global economy. However, in recent years, the arts have been added to this philosophy.
So why add the arts into STEM? Brent Bushnell and Eric Gradman, co-founders of LA-based Two Bits Circus, discuss in their TedTalks why STEM needs the arts. Gradman starts by explaining why he and Bushnell were huge fans of STEM when they first began working in their STEM careers. “We loved it,” Gradman says. “We solved interesting problems and we made a difference. We were using the education that we gained in science, technology, engineering, and math to do cool stuff, but you know what? I was getting burned out.” Many STEM careerists have claimed that art enhances their critical thinking skills that the original STEM concept was attempting to instill. The arts are the connection STEM needed to engage students and to have them see the connection between everyday life and the science we use on a daily basis.
But STEAM isn’t just for the classroom. Children’s museums all over the country promote STEAM
education through their learning programs, reminding parents and kids how much fun learning can be. Children’s Museum of Manhattan explores technological creations in their STEAM Lab where children design robots, create circuits, and create their own rockets out of VHS tapes. Please Touch Museum’s Space: The Final Fun-tier program brings children into outer space where they learn about our solar system and the machinery needed to travel into space. Children learn about the science behind their creations and get the satisfaction of seeing their creations come to life.
A great opportunity for children to experience all the benefits of STEAM education is Children’s Museum of Illinois’ new camp series: Camp 55. Camp 55 is a STEAM-based camp from July 13th to 17th that will explore the topic of flight: physics behind gliding, hovering, and soaring. Campers will create their own flying contraptions, hear from local experts, and learn through hands-on demonstrations. Camp 55 is a chance for children to see how much fun science can be!
Article written by Terri Purcell