STEAM education helps transform today’s students into the innovators of tomorrow by incorporating science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. While each part of STEAM is important on its own, when combined, they represent a holistic approach to helping prepare children for a future that will need creative solutions to increasingly complex problems.
The Role of Engineering in STEAM
Each day, engineers across the world take the principles of mathematics and science and apply them to solve real-world problems, designing and constructing everything from cars and bridges to new types of chemicals and computer software. In a professional setting, engineering is separated into five disciplines:
- Chemical engineering applies chemistry, mathematics, biology, mathematics and physics to manufacture fuel, medicines, materials and even food products. In recent years, developments in this area have been instrumental in advancing the efficiency of renewable energy sources and increased battery capacity for electric cars.
- Electrical engineering is one of the newer engineering disciplines and focuses on electronics and electrical equipment. Those working in this specialty create a wide range of products, from small objects like microchips and computer hardware to gigantic power generators and satellites that orbit the earth.
- Mechanical engineering deals with the creation and development of mechanical systems that involve any type of motion. Using the principles of math and physics, mechanical engineers design and produce many different machines including wind turbines, airplanes, cars, prosthetics and machining equipment.
- Industrial engineering is used in a wide range of industries to increase quality and efficiency. Examples include developing more effective and accurate supply chains, and designing practices and strategies that enable safer work environments.
- Civil engineering focuses on building structures that are used by the public, including roads, airports and sewer systems. Some of the most famous of these structures include the Golden Gate Bridge, the English Channel Tunnel, the Great Pyramid of Giza and the International Space Station.
Along with engaging in the other components of STEAM, practicing engineering allows children to tap into their natural curiosity and develop creative ways to overcome challenges they have experienced in their own lives.
Engineering Fun at Camp Invention
Every year, the flagship education program from the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), Camp Invention®, offers a new curriculum developed by our education team and filled with fun engineering challenges.
In this summer’s all-new program, Recharge, campers have daily opportunities to explore engineering concepts through engaging, hands-on activities. For example, in Open Mic, children explore reverse engineering, taking apart their very own wireless microphone to understand how it works. Each time they turn on their microphone, they hear a special inspirational message from engineer and NIHF Inductee Jim West, co-inventor of the electret microphone.
Camp Invention’s Recharge program also gives children the chance to design and build duck-launching catapults in Duck Chuck, explore the circuitry of solar-powered crickets in SolarBot and engineer all-terrain vehicles in Road Rally. In addition to building hard STEM skills, each day of camp is packed with activities that allow campers to develop crucial 21st-century skills including collaboration, creativity and perseverance.
These experiences extend far beyond Camp Invention. In fact, some of our campers have gone on to invent incredible things, from a safety switch to protect small children from oven burns to a special anchor that protects Christmas ornaments from falling to the ground!
Continue Exploring STEAM
Interested in exploring the other subjects involved in STEM and STEAM learning? Check out our blog!