THE Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Expo for Middle School and High School Students in Northern Louisiana
During the next five months, we will provide a theme-based virtual conference, where each month would feature one of the letters of STEAM, providing continuous coverage on our Facebook Page, at the Bossier Arts Council, select Bossier City Libraries, and from our dedicated sponsors. This monthly-themed conference aims to promote STEAM-related activities, events, and careers
STEAM education is the name given to an education model that focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics, with a strong emphasis on integration between these core skills. STEAM initiatives are intended to prepare students for future work roles by helping them develop creativity, innovation, leadership, and critical thinking skills. Science and technology match up well because much of the technology we use and rely on has been the result of scientific discovery. The link with engineering is also clear in much the same way because engineering uses scientific ideas and concepts to design and create structures, machines, and objects. Similarly, science and mathematics go hand-in-hand, especially with physics, where numerical data is crucial.
Creating STEAM projects that illustrate STEM concepts empowers students to become part of the teaching process. Through hands-on, creative learning, studies show that students not only learn more – they retain what they learn.
Through pilot classrooms and independent, peer-reviewed studies, it’s shown time and again that the engaged learning process created by STEAM leads to better test scores in classrooms.
Teachers who use STEAM arts integration curricula in their classrooms report a dramatic decrease in off-task behavior and more than 20 percent reduction in classroom disruptions.
Throughout the U.S., educators are looking for ways to bridge the so-called achievement gap. STEAM education is an inclusive curriculum that works for all students, regardless of culture, ethnicity, or learning style. In fact, STEAM arts integration shows increased gains in Title I classrooms. It’s an approach to education that delivers the biggest benefits to the students who need it most.
By using art projects as a springboard for teaching STEM, a K-5 STEAM curriculum makes learning fun for students – while improving their learning and test performance. Engaged students learn more and retain more of what they learn.
The subjects within the STEAM categories are considered important for developing key life skills, which include media and technology literacy, productivity, social skills, communication, flexibility, and initiative. Other skills attained through STEM education include problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, curiosity, decision making, leadership, entrepreneurship, acceptance of failure and more.
The importance of science is that it teaches critical thinking skills, the search for truth, and highly transferable problem-solving skills based on evidence and logical thought patterns.
Science education typically involves three main fields: physics, biology, and chemistry. Topics like energy, matter, force, and space fall under physics, while biology focuses on the study of living organisms and chemistry introduces students to the study of chemicals and elements.
With technology-related skills increasingly in demand, it is crucial that students learn to utilize technology at a young age and continue to use technology throughout their education.
Exploring technology helps children to understand and value innovation while building 21st-century skills like media and technology literacy, productivity, social skills, communication, flexibility, and initiative. These kinds of skills will be critical for children as they grow in our ever-changing world, regardless of whether or not they pursue a career in a tech-based field in the future.
Engineering is becoming increasingly relevant in a rapidly developing world, with recent years seeing a sharp increase in demand for engineering skills to create the objects and infrastructure we rely on.
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.
The goal of Arts in STEAM is to teach students the value of creativity, innovation, communication, and contemplation. These skills are often in high demand with the workforce, where creative solutions to problems are needed and where different perspectives can be useful.
In practice, STEAM is defined as arts integration, an approach to teaching and learning through which content standards are taught and assessed equitably in and through the arts. It’s the intentional weaving of academic study – typically math, science, social studies, and English and language arts – with arts disciplines such as visual art, dance, music, and theater.
Mathematics helps to bind the other elements together as it is needed to solve problems in the fields of science, technology, and engineering, while also providing structure to the arts.
While understanding mathematics grows increasingly important for students who wish to pursue a STEAM career, for those who don’t take a natural interest in such subjects, math can be incredibly intimidating. Reasons for this are many and include the promotion of abstract concepts in the classroom and emphasis on memorization as a learning technique. Because mathematical concepts build on one another, if a child falls behind early, it can take them a long time to catch up with the rest of their class.
The Bossier Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is dedicated to promoting, supporting, and providing cultural events and programming in order to enhance the quality of life and to develop a cultural identity for Bossier Parish.