Schools Mixing Art And Science To Create STEAM

By Kathy Boccella
Philly.com

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A decade ago, the idea that began trending in the nation’s schools was STEM, a concentrated focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. Now, education innovators are powering STEM with STEAM, integrating tech-oriented learning with the freer-form, risk-taking processes of the arts, represented by the A in the acronym.

Philly.com

Playing with blocks in kindergarten isn’t what it used to be. That becomes quickly clear in a new lab at Drexel Hill’s Holy Child Academy, where 5-year-old Sophie Munch is using her iPad to steer a Sphero, a tiny round robot, through the tunnels and under the bridges of a long, child-built maze of wooden blocks.

At a nearby computer, two sixth graders are honing their multimedia publishing skills through Photoshop, turning an image of their science teacher blue and grafting hair onto his balding head.

The scene pleases Margaret Fox-Tully, head of school at the private K-8 Catholic academy. She sees the room’s mix of creative projects, blending science, art, and design, as one giant leap in the development of skills her students will likely need for the futuristic workforce that awaits them in the 2030s.

Holy Child’s recently installed $150,000 lab is just one outpost in a rapidly advancing education movement called STEAM. A decade ago, the idea that began trending in the nation’s schools was STEM, a concentrated focus on science, technology, engineering, and math, the widely acknowledged victims of instructional neglect. Now, acronym-loving education innovators are powering STEM with STEAM, integrating tech-oriented learning with the freer-form, risk-taking processes of the arts, represented by the A in the acronym.

“One of the things we’re excited about is, it’s OK if it doesn’t work. That leads to creative problem-solving,” said Fox-Tully, watching as a frustrated Sophie temporarily snagged Sphero in the maze and declared, “I can’t do it!”

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