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STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Though it seems like a compilation of five academic fields, it is really an educational approach to teaching and learning STEM subjects through the arts. Basically, it intentionally integrates academic studies with arts disciplines.
Before STEAM education, there was STEM education, which mainly focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. But then problems arose and many parents, as well as students, realized that STEM was not enough for their kids’ well-rounded development. The emphasis that schools placed upon STEM did not lead to those dazzling results they’d hoped for, which is when educators started to include the arts as an inseparable component of the educational approach.
With that being said, the idea is not about giving equal or greater time to STEM or the arts. Instead, STEAM (after adding Arts into STEM) education aims to incorporate artistic topics, skills, and ways of thinking to teaching and learning technical subjects.
STEAM education is not about hand-holding. Students are given room to think, evaluate, and determine how to best achieve their goals and complete projects. The results are not to be measured simply by success or failure; instead it’s the way of thinking that they learned while completing the projects that mattered the most to them.