Why STEM? (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Why are they in a group? Should they be integrated with other core subjects? Should students learn these subjects in addition to regular curriculum or is it a part of the regular curriculum?
Do those who write curriculum and create learning materials understand the interconnectedness of the arts to mathematics and science? Technology spans all disciplines and so does engineering.
How do you make a piano? How do you make an instrument sound a certain way? How do you design a hockey stick to be strong, light and flexible? Can you make a pan that retains heat better? How do you solve a Rubik’s cube? What do you imagine a robot doing? Can you design it? Do you understand how a paper airplane will fly and how its design affect its trajectory? Have you worked with gears and pulleys to make something useful for daily life? What are the effects of having different building materials? Can you create a fabric that is cool and doesn’t wrinkle?
STEM subjects are many–mathematics, physics, chemistry-biochemistry, eco-sciences, and computer science. These subjects all interact with their STEAM partners-computer graphics and design, video production, animation, food science, various aspects of music and music making, dance, physical education, spatial relationships . . .the list goes on.
Students should have in-depth projects that relate to interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary curriculum. Let’s build a yo-yo. What are all the factors to consider? Design, shape, materials…display all the yo-yos and sponsor a project event and while students explain their design process. Students can use power point or video and include music. Build a robot to do a simple task. We need community partners and mentors. An engineer demonstrates his job. Another shows how to make something and how to make it the most efficient. Build things. Take machines apart and see how they work. Businesses should provide learning materials through their education departments. Include Psychology. Learn the effect of color and light on productivity. DO a study. BUILD something. Study a subject in-depth and process that information to create something new. Study spatial relationships by experimenting and observing how your body takes up space. Be a live design or puzzle.
STEM and STEAM learning must be hands-on and experiential. Use real world tasks as the point of study. Learn through experimentation.
STEM disciplines identified by the National Science Foundation include engineering, mathematics, agricultural sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, psychology, economics and other natural and social/behavioral sciences, computer science, and earth, atmospheric and ocean sciences.
STEAM with the “A” for the Arts includes Music, Visual Art, Video Production, Computer Graphics, Dance, Theatre and Physical Education.
Think about the possibilities. STEAM/STEAM is NOT learning about the ocean by counting and coloring fish. Instead, make a mini-ocean in a bottle and learn about how the ocean is a closed eco-system and how waves travel. Create shapes with your bodies and learn and understand spatial relationships. Make an instructional video. Use notes to understand rhythmic values as fractions. Make mayonnaise.
Integrate STEM/STEAM into the school curriculum. These subjects relate to each other and that is why they are in a group called STEM or STEAM. It is a puzzle and the picture is complete only with each piece.Education comes to life through hands-on learning experiences. The integration of STEM/STEAM into the curriculum better enables students to be career and college ready.