School Guide

The Difference Between STEM And STEAM

Published by SchoolAdvisor on Dec 09, 2019, 12:17 PM

The difference between STEM and STEAM is greater than just the letter ‘A’. STEM was created in 2001 and STEAM was introduced right afterwards. Countless people got lost when STEAM showed up to ‘compete’ with STEM, while some have not heard of either of them. So, what are they and how are they different?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and was created for students to explore these subjects in hope that they will develop interest which will then spark their desire to work in these fields. STEM, after all provide real life situations for the students to experience and learn from.

STEAM, on the other hand is STEM but with ART included as another core subject for the students to understand STEM more in depth. With the Art being added into the core subjects- STEM becomes STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).

It is believed that the latter prepares students better in keeping up with the changing times by honing their critical thinking skills and creativity. In reality, there is not much difference between the two, STEM and STEAM, since they practically share the same focus but with different teaching methodologies.

Is STEAM better than STEM? Possibly, because STEAM:

  • Integrates with artistic expression
  • Can help students with lack of interest in studying a particular subject of STEM be inspired to learn better by making it more interesting with art
  • Focuses more on out of textbook teachings
  • Enhances visual and mental skills
  • Is free from conventional thinking
  • Provides holistic education

The ‘A’ in STEAM is similar to a bridge that connects the subjects (STEM) with the object (students) through ART. It helps in problem solving and in developing memory. Hence, it leads to a deeper understanding of the topic instead of just reading and memorizing.

How ART works in STEM:

Note that Art is enjoyed by many students especially preschoolers and it is important in developing a child’s mental abilities. Not to mention that the inclusion of Art in STEM helps in opening the eyes of students wider, leading to more ideas, which eventually benefits students immensely. For example, Engineers do not need to learn how to draw well/draw at all, but they do need to understand and visualize technical diagrams which will be easier if their creative skills are honed from childhood. Studying the STEAM way will also reduce stress and tension level amongst students, because teachers and students get to socialize more instead of having their nose in book all the time. It is indeed killing two birds with one stone.

STEAM and Globalization.

Thanks to globalization and innovations, science and technology have become vital. Qualifications have also increased the past decades in the areas of STEM. And to help students comprehend the STEM subjects, implementing STEAM into lectures and teaching methods will actually gain the attention of students who are not interested and struggling in a particular subject because- it helps students enhance their critical thinking skills and call attention onto the STEM subjects through creative activities.

ROBOTS taking over the FUTURE.

Thinking and creativity are essential elements to innovation, the reason STEAM was created. As the world advances, robots will gradually take over most automated jobs leaving us jobless. Robots do not take breaks like us, complain, take annual leaves or gossip, meaning they do not stray from their work. The only thing that differentiates us from robots is that we are adaptive to changes, and we are able to think as well as create, which is exactly how we invented robots in the first place. We have this upper hand because we have a brain that can think, create, learn and do amazing things. So, the only way to stay ahead is to sharpen the brain from an early age with the help of Art in STEM.

With creativity and fun included in STEAM, it’ll lead to new skills and innovation, which STEM alone can never achieve.

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