What is STEAM?

The latest philosophical shift towards designing curriculum that supports STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in the classroom is creating a generation of students who are able to work collaboratively and innovatively in the workforce.  The purpose behind the focus on STEAM is to cultivate our future society’s ability to innovate and to boost the economy that will eventually be lead by the children of today.  STEAM activities are being incorporated into schools across the nation in grades as early as pre-kindergarten and throughout high school.


What used to be known only as STEM, it has been modified into STEAM in order to include the very important Arts and Design element.  The idea of the importance of incorporating the Arts into this movement can be much attributed to Daniel Pink’s New York Times’ and BusinessWeek’s bestseller book, A Whole New Mind, where Pink discusses “why right-brainers will rule the future” as our society “shifts from the left-brain dominated Information age” towards one created by design and innovation. Still, while right-brained children will greatly impact our future, it is still essential to cultivate our left-brained students who will lead the way in the other areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.




The internet offers a wide variety of STEAM activities and resources for all ages that can be incorporated into the classroom in any capacity.  Here are just a few:


  • Education Closet’s Steam Portal is a website that offers ideas for lessons and other resources for support and information.
  • Students can compete with teams nationally and across all grade levels through Odyssey of the Mind.  Teams are challenged with complex problems that will require creative thinking in order to solve.
  • DIY is a forum that allows students to explore their own skills and share them with others.  From art to philosophy to business-related skills, there is a place for everyone.
  • Digital STEAM Workshop from Autodesk provides projects created by field experts in an effort to support project-based learning.  Students can choose from a plethora of project challenges and can also choose between beginning, intermediate and advanced levels to best meet their learning needs.
  • The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education is another great resource for project ideas that support STEM.
  • KinderArt provides a multitude of art lessons and is sorted by age and by medium.  It provides project ideas, art history lessons, vocabulary, filler activities and so much more!

Blog written by Lauren Bronson from Tampa Learning Co.

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