STEM vs. STEAM: Why the “A” is Critical

Many schools throughout the nation have begun to adopt STEAM programs in lieu of STEM, adding the arts to the former science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. Although this adoption of STEAM has begun in earnest, some are still skeptical as to why the arts should be included. Here, the educational professionals at Hot Spots Extended Care Programs explains why the arts are a valuable addition to STEM education.

STEAM Can Make Science-Based Learning More Accessible for Students

Students come to science education from all skill levels, backgrounds and learning strengths. As such, it is important to develop science-based learning that is accessible for all students. Incorporating the arts into STEM education can go a long way towards making the sciences more relatable and available for students from a variety of backgrounds. This allows students to learn about science in a holistic and creatively-minded way, providing a living and adaptable learning structure that can be altered in innovative ways for disparate learning mindsets.

Creativity is an Important Skill for the Modern Worker

Educational focus on standardized testing has done little to foster creative thinking and innovative understanding in students, and as such it is crucial to find new ways to reemphasize the importance of creativity. The modern working world is one filled with new opportunities and challenges, ever-changing technologies and diverse goals, making creativity a valuable asset for the 21st-century worker. Adding the arts to STEM education helps to foster creativity in students in a way that many other core subjects cannot.

Inclusion of the Arts Improves Students Outcomes in Traditional STEM Subjects

Those in the sciences recognize that the arts and the sciences have always been linked: the recognition and development of mathematical and spatial patterns, development and design in engineering, and the use of creative brainstorming when studying scientific phenomena all have artistic elements within them. Furthermore, the creative and collaborative approach often found within the arts can help students to work together to understand scientific concepts in unique ways. Incorporating the arts into STEM education does not deviate from the goal of STEM education; rather, it helps students to understand and demonstrate STEM concepts more effectively.

The Arts Promote Academic Achievement

The arts are a vital part of any student’s education, and go a long way in promoting academic achievement of students of all age groups. A University of Florida study showed that students who studied art for four years in high school, as opposed to half a year or less, scored 98 points higher on average on their SATs. The study also showed a positive effect when students took music appreciation classes: the ones who did scored an average of 61 points higher on verbal sections and 42 points higher on math sections of the SATs. Furthermore, an 11-year national study showed that low-income students involved in arts programs were found more likely to become high academic achievers, more likely to be elected to class office, participate in a math or science fair or win an award for writing an essay or poem.

HSECP Programs Incorporate Multiple Learning Elements to Help Create Well-Rounded Students

At Hot Spots Extended Care Programs, we believe that students who have access to fun, high-quality, multi-subject educational programs are empowered to succeed academically and foster positive peer relationships. Our programs aid students in the application of skills learned during the traditional educational day and to transfer and reinforce that knowledge using instructional strategies, hands-on learning experiences and digital learning tools. To learn more about Hot Spots, contact us today!