Articles, studies, and statistics abound that focus on the importance of incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) studies into the curriculum and ensuring male and female students are equally engaged in these efforts. As we prepare students for careers and lives in an ever-changing future, it’s imperative that they move forward with an understanding and firm foundation for working within the intricacies of the STEM skill set. One roadblock that can be encountered on this journey is a lack of student interest or engagement, but adding a single letter may be the key to unlocking increased interest and a new pathway for learning.
“A” to the Rescue!
Left-brained or right-brained? Roger W. Sperry’s research into the divisions of the brain’s hemispheres offered a glimpse into brain functions and control centers for dominant personality traits and interests. STEM qualities tend to be associated with left-brained activity, while attributes associated with Art are more right-brained. To capture the interest of students with dominant strengths on either side, teachers need to STEAM things up and get the whole brain functioning. The integration of Art is a step toward engaging the whole brain and therefore the whole class.
Lisa Phillips shared 10 skills children learn through art, and when these are coupled with skills obtained through STEM learning opportunities, students will find themselves more wholly prepared for future endeavors. Coding, programming, analyzing, and synthesizing can soar to new heights when students pursue them with confidence, perseverance, focus, and creativity. When presenting lessons, projects, and/or activities, integration of the STEAM components is necessary for students to receive the full benefits of all facets. Integration allows students to find the connections between all of these skills and make the best decisions for tackling problems using a wider pool of resources and strategies.
- Edutopia’s STEAM Resources is a one-stop shop for everything relating to STEAM. From theory to practice, the article and idea links are great resources for a rookie or seasoned STEAM educator.
- The Show Me Librarian offers a number of short-term project ideas to be completed by a variety of age groups. This all-things-STEAM collection can grab student interest with anything from an Angry Bird Challenge to Marble Run Mania; these activities are sure to please.
- Check out the blogposts from STEAM Education at WordPress. Each STEAM elements is highlighted with the integral part it plays in the activity or project presented.
- AutoDesk Design Academy offers a wide array of STEAM projects and activities for the choosing. Teachers can use a dropdown menu to select difficulty levels, timeframes, and software components to identify the project that can best fulfill their curricular needs.
- These STEAM activities shared by smore.com were created through the artistic lens. With over 150 projects in this growing collection, there’s sure to be something to pique student interest in the realm of STEAM.
Integrating the 5 components of STEAM means engaging students in a curriculum rich in skills needed for the classroom and beyond. Adding Art to the mix engages the whole brain and allows for more elements that are apt to capture the attention of all students. Full STEAM ahead for an educational pathway rich in student engagement and increased learning outcomes!