Posted on November 8, 2018
I have read about the need for more students to go into S.T.E.M. fields - and the growth of jobs in the S.T.E.M. fields - for a long time. Those letters stand for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Of course loads of kids are fascinated by science stuff - animals and messing around with mixing up glop and gak and other fun substances and outer space and dinosaurs - and almost all kids are into USING tech - but apparently math gets an early reputation for being "hard," and then that "it's so hard" reputation starts to spread over all the rest of S.T.E.M.
But the world more and more depends on computers and microchips, understanding complex systems of weather and the environment, innovating out-of-the-box solutions to planet-wide problems, and so forth.
Because of our needs, S.T.E.M. fields will continue to grow, and hopefully more and more kids will take on the challenges, and hopefully a wider variety of educational choices will help us to love math rather than fear it!
Okay, so when I saw that today was S.T.E.M. Day, I wasn't surprised - yep, this is important stuff! - but I wasn't sure what S.T.E.A.M. Day meant.
Could the "A" in S.T.E.A.M. stand for arithmetic, or algebra? But arithmetic and algebra are part of mathematics, so they are already represented by the "M"...right?
What else could the "A" stand for? Archeology? Anthropology?
It turns out that the "A" stands for Art!
S.T.E.A.M. proponents point out that the arts are a great learning tool that can help many more students engage with S.T.E.M. fields. If all five S.T.E.A.M. topics are interconnected in problem-based learning with student teams working together, many more students will be motivated to join in or stay in S.T.E.A.M.
Also, we need creativity in science, we need communication with the general public about scientific findings, we need ways to make emotional connections with people about scientific truths. And the same could be said for other S.T.E.M. fields. So integrating Art with all the other S.T.E.M. fields makes sense to eventually make those fields better and stronger.