Why STEM Needs to Become STEAM…

29 Jun 2015 by Lauren Kisicki, No Comments »
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In this day and age, there is a huge emphasis being placed on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, especially in jobs. The curriculums are being added to, clubs and classes are being created, and more people are taking interest. Meanwhile, the fine arts programs in schools are suffering. When budget cuts occur, the arts are the first to go, despite the fact that the arts are actually essential to improving STEM. programs and concepts. As time goes on, more and more people, from experts to teachers to kids, are agreeing that STEM needs to have an arts fundamental added to its concepts, turning it into STEAM.

The concept of STEAM was first officially introduced by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and has been added to and supported by countless institutions, corporations, and individuals. The goals of the movement are to transform research policy to place art and design at the center of STEM, encourage integration of art and design in K–20 education, and influence employers to hire artists and designers to drive innovation.

Art is required to be successful in all fields of STEM, even if it isn’t totally obvious at first. As far as education and the teaching of these topics goes, it has been shown that arts and music education programs are mandatory in countries that rank consistently among the highest for math and science test scores, like Japan, Hungary, and the Netherlands. There is also a study group that shows that 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students who were taught a foreign language every day in school outperformed the students who were not exposed to a foreign language on their Basic Skills Test.The arts are also vital in actual STEM careers. One of the most prominent examples of this is in design. Whether it be blueprints, statistics, or a presentation, the design and layout of things has to be aesthetically pleasing, neat, and make sense in order for the intended audience to understand what they’re being told. Those trained in the visual arts have a far easier time with grasping these concepts. Public speaking, communication skills, and confidence are vital as well in getting you point across and can be learned from performing arts. Art also encourages creative thinking, which is the most important part of innovation and creation.

Schools around the world, including Hillcrest, are creating STEM programs to emphasize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, this can lead to the loss of critical art programs, which go hand in hand with STEM concepts. We need to add art to STEM in order to make the most out of the new technologies and jobs available. In the words of Paul Ostergard, the vice president of Citicorp, “A broad education in the arts helps give children a better understanding of their world… We need students who are culturally literate as well as math and science literate.” Let’s turn STEM into STEAM.






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