STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The newer acronym has included art and design which are important areas in almost all STEAM based activities.
The main features of STEAM based teaching and learning are:
- Low risk environment: Students are encouraged to make mistakes and their failures are often celebrated as they are able to bounce back and fix the mistakes that they make. Those on social media may have seen the tag Friday Failure where educators and people working in STEAM positions will showcase their weekly mistakes proudly and often explain how they solved the issue or ask for help from the community.
- Hands-on learning: One of our favorite things about STEAM learning is that it is all hands on and very visual. Everything that you code has an emulator which shows your work in real time. Projects can be built and designed and can be completed over weeks rather than just one or two lessons. This method also encourages creativity as students expand their own boundaries to try new skills within each subject area.
- Creative problem solving and critical literacy: STEAM also encourages students to find creative ways to solve problems. Instead of giving them a simple problem to solve with one answer, they are able to discuss in pairs or groups new and different ways to solve problems. You could have 5 groups of students all searching to solve the same problem and by the end it is very likely that you could have 5 completely different solutions.
- Paired working: STEAM works best in classes where students are able to bounce ideas off each other and work in small groups to solve problems. Having a partner enables students to find solutions and work through STEAM projects in a different way than they would on their own. Everyone brings something unique to a group and these unique skills are encouraged when they work in pairs.