What is STEAM?
STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math to guide student inquiry, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity. Students become innovators, designers, creators, thinkers, and leaders.
The focus of the FDES STEAM Lab is to help students and educators develop an understanding of the Engineering Design Process and to develop inquiry skills by engaging in STEAM related challenges. These challenges are designed to promote student growth across the 5Cs - collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship.
Why is STEAM Important?
In today’s world, setting students up for future success means exposing them to opportuniteis across the STEAM disciplines in order to develop their critical thinking skills. According to business experts, “Education is under pressure to respond to a changing world. As repetitive tasks are eroded by technology and outsourcing, the ability to solve novel problems have become increasingly vital.”
The earlier students are exposed to the STEAM disciplines, the better. In a study by Microsoft Corporation it was shown that 4 in 5 STEAM college students (78%) say that they decided to study STEAM in high school or earlier and one in five (21%) decided in middle school or earlier. Yet, only 1 in 5 STEAM college students feel that their K–12 education prepared them extremely well for their college courses in STEAM. There also appears to be a major disparity in the female to male ratio when it comes to those employed in STEAM fields. Getting more girls interested in STEAM disciplines is another goal of this 21st century movement.
Not only does a STEAM framework teach students how to think critically, problem solve and use creativity, it prepares students to work in a field that is poised for growth. It is estimated that jobs in science, technology, and math will coninue to grow rapidly in the coming years, and nearly double the growth of other non-STEM related fields. In 2018, the United States had more than 1.2 million unfilled STEM jobs.
Even for students who don’t choose a career in one of the STEAM fields, the skills students gain from STEAM education can be translated into almost any career. Educating students in STEAM subjects prepares students for life, regardless of the profession they choose to follow. These subjects teach students how to think critically and how to solve problems — skills that can be used throughout life as students face challenges and embrace opportunities whenever they appear.