Schools worldwide are realising the need to deliver relevant, engaging STEAM programs to equip students for future focused careers.
The beauty of STEAM is that the best way to excite students is through hands on student driven exploration that engage learners to ask questions, develop explanations and design solutions.
A five-year study by the Smithsonian Science Education Centre demonstrates that inquiry-based, hands-on learning improves student achievement in science, reading and maths. Additionally, this approach to teaching and learning narrows the gap for at-risk students, such as English-language learners and economically disadvantaged students.*
Children are exposed to strong STEM role models in movies such as Shuri from Marvel's Black Panther , the women from Hidden Figures and even Hermoine Granger from Harry Potter. Film studies are an excellent way to grow an interest in STEM as students see the potential these fields provide.
Hands on projects that are led by children, cultivated in their passion area or community needs is another way to provide an interest and direction for students. Allowing students to lead their learning journey allows them to take ownership and to delve deeper into their passions driving their education to new levels. STEAM has the power to do this, even for the most unmotivated of students. It allows them to learn of new interests and possibilities that they may not have been aware of.
STEAM is not a stand alone topic. It weaves all other subjects together to enhance writing, research and delivery but in a way that engages students to take the lead in their own education. It is a powerful way to excite students while ensuring New Zealand's knowledge economy is competitive in the world market in the future.
* David Heller, Director, Curriculum Products and Development, Carolina Biological Supply Company