The STEM vs. STEAM Debate

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The STEM vs. STEAM Debate

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The need for STEM programming in education developed out of concern that future generations were lacking critical skills needed to succeed in the current and future economy. STEM programming teaches innovation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration among many other skills proven to lead to success.

What is STEAM?

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The difference is that arts are included, ranging from visual arts, language arts and physical arts to music and more. STEAM focuses on sparking imagination and creativity through the arts in ways that naturally align with STEM learning.

What’s the debate?

There is some debate about whether art education should be included in programming promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Some STEM supporters believe that including art takes away from the other core subject matter. Many STEAM supporters believe the arts should not be overlooked and feel that the arts enhance the overall learning experience by adding even more creativity into the mix.

Should we focus on STEM or STEAM?

Currently, STEM is the more commonly used terminology, though the debate about STEM versus STEAM is well known. At the National Inventors Hall of Fame®, our focus isn’t on the debate – it’s on children. We create hands-on programming that encourages children to ask questions, embrace failure and create without boundaries.

Focus on hands-on learning

Regardless of your preference on STEM education or STEAM education, the key factor remains: using hands-on experiences to teach children the important concepts that will help position them for future success is critical. Hands-on learning allows students to think creatively and use innovation to find unique solutions to common problems – ultimately making our world a better place. 

Ready to join the cause?

Learn about our hands-on STEM programming and consider how you or your child can make a difference in our world. Download our white paper “How to Prepare the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs” to learn more about the importance of STEM and STEAM education.

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