STEM to STEAM

Posted on Feb 14, 2013 by Adobe Education Latest activity: Aug 15, 2014

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"STEM to STEAM" is a new buzzword in education. What does STEAM mean to you, and how do you see it impacting your work?
What do you see as the role of creativity, design and the arts in driving innovation in STEM industries?
How have the arts influenced your own understanding of and engagement with STEM subject areas?
How can art intersect with other core subjects in your classroom? How might this impact your students’ learning?

This discussion post is part of the Adobe Education Exchange Professional Development Workshop, Integrating the Arts in to STEM 101: Intro to STEAM

Comments (27)

tannizia anthony

Posted on Aug 15, 2014 3:31 AM - Permalink

What do you see as the role of creativity, design and the arts in driving innovation in STEM industries?

Art offers design solutions to problem solving STEM on the other hand offers a more logical solution to problem solving.

How have the arts influenced your own understanding of and engagement with STEM subject areas? Creativity allows for one to think out of the normal expectations, this brings new innovation to the core which the other subject areas are seeking to achieve in their problem solving.

How can art intersect with other core subjects in your classroom? How might this impact your students’ learning?

I believe design and technology works very well together so its easier to incorporate the other subjects in your art class.


A Ruo

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 5:04 PM - Permalink

As an art educator, the inclusion of art + design into STEM is crucial. For me, it adds validity to my role as an educator in the public schools and helps to secure the future of my profession, not just for me but for all arts educators. It will impact my work by bringing the arts to the table as an integral part of educating the whole mind. I was always a student that felt left out in science and math, but I felt I could flourish in the art room. The ability to experiment and solve creative problems really spoke to me and drove my career decisions as I moved forward to college and graduate school. If it hadn't been for art, I am not sure where I would have ended up. To add art + design to the national STEM discussion shows the level of importance the arts has.

I do not teach any Common Core classes, but I do teach Yearbook, Graphic Design and Fine Arts classes. In my Graphic Design class I introduce social studies and social activism and integrate some lessons into these fields. With the yearbook class, it is closely tied to English with writing, editing and journalism. I try to leave lessons open ended so that students begin with a broad "problem" and can use their own ideas to solve it.

Jarvis Grant

Posted on Aug 11, 2014 3:59 PM - Permalink

What do you see as the role of creativity, design and the arts in driving innovation in STEM industries?
Art offers design solutions to problem solving. STEM has a tendency to offer management solutions to problem solving. This isn’t wrong, but it is limiting. There is the tendency of offering the same solutions to problems. Whether these solutions are bigger or smaller, they tend to be the same solutions not different.

How have the arts influenced your own understanding of and engagement with STEM subject areas?
I am an artist, so I have the tendency to approach my personal and professional problems as a designer. So when I’m teaching students a subject in the media arts, I bring up math, English, and science while discussion at hand. This helps students to re-enforce those subject in something they sense as fun to learn.

How can art intersect with other core subjects in your classroom? How might this impact your students’ learning?
As previously stated, I integrate other subject into the instruction of the arts. I do this not to legitimize the arts but to illustrate the practicality of the other core subjects. It is the core subjects that students usually consider un-meaningful. The arts help bridge the core subjects to a student’s life.

Edward Mondragon

Posted on Aug 8, 2014 9:47 PM - Permalink

1) STEAM is the integration of creative talents through the arts into learning. Creativity is where our country has excelled in the development of new ideas and products; therefore, we must allow students to express their creativity within every aspect of learning. Unfortunately, our traditional instruction tends to be stagnant and eliminates creativity.

2) Creativity, design and the arts allow individuals to think outside of the box which is where new, innovative ideas are generated which are then translated into products or improvements to products. STEM is effective alone, but I believe it can have a stronger effect with the addition of the creative ingenuity of individuals through art.

3) I have generally integrated artistic aspects into my teaching, such as web page design and computer programming, but I integrate creative elements into other classes through the creation of projects such as Prezi and Go! Animate products.

4) Though the implementation of artistic tools, such as Photoshop or Illustrator, I believe educators in all areas could generate more creative talents within students thus presenting information in various manners based upon student-centered ideas. This will allow students to attach their own interpretations to their understanding which will bond better with their background knowledge which will provide better learning on their part.

nancy hoorn

Posted on Jul 12, 2014 7:30 PM - Permalink

So what is “art” in STEAM – to me it is using the non-STEM parts of the world around us to make the STEM parts useable, and maybe more enjoyable. As mathematicians and scientists, we look for patterns. Then we try to express those patterns with math. Then we want to stop and say that we have solved the problems of the world. WRONG! J

We have discovered the foundation for the solutions. We also need to look for those irregularities that make the patterns in nature work.

What happens if we only look at the STEM part of things? Pacemakers can create a steady, invariable heartbeat – that can kill you! Nature does not use just a few variables when directing the growth of a tree or seashell – and if clams were perfect, we would never see pearls! Inspiration for all endeavors comes from somewhere. Patterns are all around us, including the imperfections that keeps nature from crashing like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge or a pace maker program that does not include some built in irregularity.

Leonardo da Vinci did not create his art masterpieces with a ruler and compass! But he did study the patterns in nature and define many of them so that they were easier to comprehend.

Then, he used his artistic talent to make unique creations, both beautiful and useful (first models of cars, aircraft, etc.).

He first understood the patterns, then built on them in unique and wonderful ways.

We need to help our kids understand that what we are teaching them are only tools, not end products.

Katie Flood

Posted on Jun 21, 2014 8:51 PM - Permalink

I attended the NAEA (National Art Education Association) conference in Seattle, WA in 2011 and saw a presentation by Robert Root-Bernstein on hid research for the book "Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People." It was incredible, and filled with STEAM information! I was so excited to find this course and learn more about building a STEAM program at my school. The role of creativity, design and the arts in STEAM industries is so important. Without any creativity, STEM falls flat. As an art teacher I see the need for creative thinkers, and I also see the value of intersecting art with other subjects. When students can make connections, and think in new ways, the possibilities are endless.

Sherry King

Posted on Jun 3, 2014 7:10 PM - Permalink

I think that STEAM can potentially engage students that may feel left out (remember, no child left behind), in the traditional classroom settings and possibly change their mindset about certain subject areas. Also, regarding the Math component, students should be encouraged to create math projects using technology to support and reinforce what they are learning in those classes. Our students are new and fresh thinkers and are using technology at a rate that is increasing exponentially daily! STEAM is a great way to inject creativity into other content areas. In the technology classroom, design and creativitiy are encouraged; this should carryover into other classes and content areas as well.

Jose Carrillo

Posted on May 30, 2014 5:19 PM - Permalink

I think the hardest part of trying to convince higher level decision makers that STEAM is a good idea is the fact that most of the decision makers got to BE decision makers because of their dedication and proficiency of STEM and their rejection of the arts as frivolous, or their dedication to Design and Arts, rejecting STEM because it is too stuffy and rigid.

Tenured professors will not want to have their math students make videos or graphics for their course; they'll want them to do homework. Over and Over. Just like they did when they were in school.

Creativity and STEM would work great together. I fear that it just won't be accepted.

karen baker

Posted on May 28, 2014 10:25 PM - Permalink

What do you see as the role of creativity, design and the arts in driving innovation in STEM industries? Brings about a more complete process in innovation. It provides a more diverse approach to collaboration with multiple discipline teams.

How have the arts influenced your own understanding of and engagement with STEM subject areas?
Art was a hobby for me as a youth, the more I explored it for self, it became clearer how important it was to me excelling in Science and Math; when I started to take art classes in High School I began to understand a little bit of the correlation. Fast forwarding, It has been an important decision in the careers that I have chosen.
How can art intersect with other core subjects in your classroom? How might this impact your students’ learning?
Art can intersect with Math by teaching an craft such as weaving and knitting. Both require math to even create or design patterns. I have meet former engineers who transitioned into the craft industry easier because art was infused with STEM. The impact is being able to engage a visual learner and thinker more than ever. Introducing the concepts of visual learning into STEM can make reading easier.

kim kelly

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 6:33 AM - Permalink

What do you see as the role of creativity, design and the arts in driving innovation in STEM industries?

· solving problems in new ways

· solving problems in ways that are sympathetic to people and places

How have the arts influenced your own understanding of and engagement with STEM subject areas?

· solutions that are clearly communicated to other need to draw on artistic skills

· work needs to be beautiful

How can art intersect with other core subjects in your classroom? How might this impact your students’ learning?

· see above


Lauren Ernst

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 10:53 PM - Permalink

To me STEAM means working more closely with my STEM teachers. Being part of the tech ed. department but more of an artistic subject area (photography & Design) we are sort of an anomaly at my school. STEAM could help me look for ways that the STEM curriculum matches with my curriculum and for ways to integrate that directly to my subject area. For example the formula 1 club could pair up with the photo students to learn about shutter speed and the students could also learn about design from the F1 students. Creativity and design are the key components to STEM, who wants to use a poorly designed product?

dennis wilson

Posted on Feb 19, 2014 2:38 AM - Permalink

Back in my art school days my printmaking professor told us that the word Art was formed from the Latin word "ars" which essentially meant collection or bring together knowledge. It made sense because of the words use in other fields such as medical arts, communication arts, practical arts. I have seen various versions of the definition of ars but his words were powerful and seem to resonate as I read and contemplate the issue of STEAM. Adding the word art to STEM is a no brainer but emphasizing its intent for creativity and innovation is crucial. I hope that this message makes its way to many that are implementing STEM curriculum and not just art teachers as we have always seen its importance. As an art educator, on the first day of class I inform students and when parents come to my room I inform them, that their children are learning problem solving skills above all else. Yes I am teaching everything from doodling to classical and urban techniques in as many mediums as possible but at the end of the day most of my students will not go on to art school. The skill that will most benefit all students is to embrace failure as a way to learn and conquer and to look at a problem and solve it in a new and inventive way.

Shelley Ortner

Posted on Feb 17, 2014 1:22 PM - Permalink

I am fortunate to work as a visual arts teacher in a public magnet high school that values and incorporates creativity and art into it's curriculum. I find myself turning to the STEAM model time and time again for my lessons and my colleagues do as well. The work the students create in all of their subjects (both core and theme classes) is inspiring and important in today's "teach to the test" climate.

kathy chastain

Posted on Nov 14, 2013 8:02 PM - Permalink

I like this concept of STEM to STEAM very much. It is easy to look at education's leadership role, or lack thereof(NCLB), over the past decade and longer, and see the real impact of losing so many of the arts courses in public education. All of the negative numbers that define education have continued in a negative direction and many of the positives have also disappeared, or become negative. It has manifested itself in our students in many negative ways. Taking the arts and creativity out of the curriculum has created many students that don't know how to access these attributes and their education has suffered as a result. Never forget, as 4 year olds, we are ALL creative. It's easy to look at the government directed initiatives that have impacted education and see the results in our college students who are unprepared when they arrive, increased drop-out rates across the country and low and dropping scores in every area. By reducing education to it's lowest common denominator, we have denied countless students the opportunity to discover their own creative thinking paths. The impact is quite simple..by combining the arts with core areas, we create avenues to learning that are engaging to students and have the potential to fuel the spark that is self-motivation. Hopefully, it will re-introduce the joys of learning that our educational system has managed to extinguish.

Mary Slumpff

Posted on Nov 3, 2013 2:49 PM - Permalink

According to Dictionary.com the definition of art: is the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful,appealing,

or of more than ordinary significance.

We need to rethink that art is not just a painting or a sculpture. We can apply this definition to STEM content and foster creativity. A math model can have significance without being turned into a painting.

Denise Orenstein

Posted on Oct 12, 2013 1:38 AM - Permalink

This past year I spent some time thinking of how my art students could jump into this methodology. I wrote a grant and won funds to pilot a simple project. I feel STEAM has always been around, quietly working hand in hand with the CORE subjects. I was able to show how a simple idea in the art room wove through math, science,ecology and health. The schools need our creative minds and input to finesse the other subjects

Steven Lustig

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 9:41 PM - Permalink

The arts are not an enrichment. They are a core value. They are a core learning ability that enhances and informs all other forms of learning.

I constantly hear the arts referred to as an ”enrichment". As if it is something additional, beyond which we could live without. By allowing others to define the arts as an enrichment we have given them the power to subtract this important teaching tool from our schools and our kids lives.

With competition from every corner of the globe increasing, we need to return this valuable asset back into our schools, to allow creativity back into kids education, encourage entrepreneurship and develop a more integrated learning culture.

kent thompson

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 12:11 PM - Permalink

well put...

Jered Martinez

Posted on Oct 2, 2013 8:57 PM - Permalink

I like seeing the intersection of various subject areas. It's so great to implement from one area to another. I have a degree in math so when I tell people that I make short films as well they don't see the connection. I think that art/entertainment can be a perfect vehicle for PBL. Create a movie: have a business department, craft services, producers, builders, contracts, permits, lighting (color of light/physics), actors, story, camera angle (mathematics) - I see creativity as our greatest strength for a strong future.

nicki allen

Posted on Sep 25, 2013 4:54 PM - Permalink

It is crucial that we start helping students perceive subjects as interconnected and related to each other as it a better reflection of how the world really operates. The subjects taught in most education systems are actually quite arbitrary and are based on a tradition which started over a hundred years ago in a completely different context. Integrating the arts across all subjects will help broaden young peoples awareness and ability to apply skills and understanding to different fields of knowledge and experience.

Phyllis Kaupp Seas

Posted on Aug 26, 2013 10:37 PM - Permalink

Integration of art and design into the sciences, technology, engineering, and math has always seemed like it should be a part in my opinion, but as a math major, with a love of all the arts, it seemed to come naturally to me. I am so glad to see that the total integration is being brought about in education, so that individuals can begin to utilize all their ideas in whatever situation to solve the challenges, rather than just look for getting the RIGHT ANSWER on the test. It should make for much more well roundedp, interested students who will not give up the excitement they are experiencing in this new learning environment.

I feel as an educator, we will continually be growing ourselves in insuring that the students are having opportunities to demonstrate their creativity to the fullest in all their subject areas or learning activities.

As demonstrated by one of the video, Leonardo da Vinci utilized all the arts, sciences, mathematics, etc. in his journaling to understand and progress in his interests. So should be an example that integration inspiration means....full STEAM ahead!


robert generette iii

Posted on Jul 26, 2013 1:32 PM - Permalink

As an art educator, "STEM to STEAM" validates a place for my passion and discipline in today's preparation for tomorrow. Art now has a defining role of determining "how". That "how" thus lead to innovation because there is no set path or direction. Thus, the implementation of STEM is more divergent. Artists and designers utilize higher order thinking in their everyday activities and solve problems by looking "outside of the box". Those same methodologies could be applied to precalculus, physics and/or technology. With the implementation of art (A), the engagement of students are increased, for there is now a creative driving force being applied to STEM. That driving force is STEAM, and STEAM drives.

Stacey Jenkins

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 2:43 PM - Permalink

Art & design are the ultimate applications of knowledge. We (artists and designers) know the value of integration, but it seems we have to be even more creative, because, we have yet to devise an effective strategy to market this philosophy to our education system. Testing and core curriculum institutions are not buying what we have to sell...and continue to look for the quick, and are increasingly satisfied with, ...the short term - "just get the answer right on the test" fix.

Stacey Jenkins

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 2:43 PM - Permalink

Art & design are the ultimate applications of knowledge. We (artists and designers) know the value of integration, but it seems we have to be even more creative, because, we have yet to devise an effective strategy to market this philosophy to our education system. Testing and core curriculum institutions are not buying what we have to sell...and continue to look for the quick, and are increasingly satisfied with, ...the short term - "just get the answer right on the test" fix.

Elaine Barnum

Posted on Jun 25, 2013 2:20 PM - Permalink

Our school is about to embark on the STEM curriculum so I feel this is very timely for me to learn about STEAM as it helps to give me a leg to stand on in trying to integrate art and technology into the overall structure of the collaborative curriculum. The arts and technology should be given a more "substance status" in value as core curriculum and not left as "just another optional elective."

Jeff Larson

Posted on Jun 19, 2013 8:17 PM - Permalink

As a long time arts educator, it was clear early on that the arts and especially design, had a strong role to play in teaching students how to engage with and access emerging web and digital technologies. Design is the face of technology, the place where most of us interact and work with computers and media especially. To me STEAM not STEM acknowledges the importance of design and creativity in all areas of Science, Tech, and Engineering. All of these areas have traditionally been given more support and backing than the arts, and the push for STEAM is not, as some may feel a dilution of the areas of science, but in fact an acknowledgement that arts/design play a crucial part in the development and communication of these fields. I just ran across a quote from Einstein, where he states that his ongoing pursuit of playing the violin was essential to the development of his theories of relativity. It is time to shift people and institutional views of the arts as being important solely because of their emotive qualities (i.e. Art makes students feel good), to include the understanding that art and design foster cognitive development and critical thinking. STEAM also offers an opportunity for students who are interested in the arts to see the intersection and develop their appreciation and engagement with science and engineering. This should not be framed in an either or way. In the past no one saw these fields or areas as mutually exclusive or more important than another. A good case in point...Leonardo DaVinci!!!

Lisa Canter

Posted on Jun 14, 2013 3:08 AM - Permalink

I think that design and technology do go hand in hand in encouraging effective innovation.