Every generation has its own idea about how to educate children and prepare them for the future. The newest trend in educational theory is something called STEM. STEM is a response to the changing needs of the workforce regarding technology. An entire reorganization of the way that children are instructed, it integrates learning with real-life scenarios, hands-on engagement, and emphasis on giving children the skills they needs to compete on a global workforce stage.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.

It aims to teach all four subjects as an integral team instead of the traditional way of breaking them into components and teaching each fraction as a part rather than a whole. Not entities onto themselves, none of the four can stand alone, so it would make sense to instruct children about concepts instead of components.

What is the difference between STEM and STEAM?

Although symbolically different, STEAM is no different from the original STEM educational goals. Many who feared that the arts were being left out, pushed to incorporate language and arts into the STEM curriculum. The mistake made was that you couldn’t have STEM educational training without the integration of language and arts. Integral to all areas of STEM, without the means to communicate through language arts, learning could not exist. A difference in the acronym and conceptual thought only, the language arts were already built-in to the paradigm even if not expressly stated until STEAM was spelled out.

Why is STEM instruction becoming so popular?

Occupations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are expected to grow exponentially over the next decade leading to a higher demand of those who have expertise in the four fields. It is estimated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, that as many as nine million occupations will be added in STEM between the decade of 2012 and 2022. Since America lacks other nations in those specially trained in STEM, the new paradigm push is an answer to the growing demand on a global scale.

STEAM and STEM motivates children through engagement and hands-on activities. Not about memorizing facts and concepts, kids are taught to work through problems with more reasoning capabilities and to integrate the knowledge of the four areas of education with a “holistic” approach. It is aimed at creating more inventive, imaginative, and analytic thinkers to become leaders on the world stage.

Why language arts should also be encouraged.

Just because the new wave of the future is in STEM, only through learning how to communicate and reason with the assistance of language and arts, can any child be successful. The heavy emphasis in grades K-12 in STEM education might be on the four components of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, but without a deep root in language and arts, the individual pieces won’t fit together. That is why engaging them in language and arts activities is so imperative to develop the whole person and their ability to move far beyond previous generations. 

Rockin Resources is dedicated to giving children engaging products to develop the integral piece that language arts supplies to the growing mind. Without an understanding of language and arts, the other four components of STEM are nothing but that, just components.

Another article that might interest you is Why Language Arts is the Art of Communication