You would have been hard pressed not to notice that it has been STEAM week in school, with our entire Primary and EYFS getting involved in some wonderful and exciting investigations. This is just the start of a series of STEAM activities and is the forerunner of an even bigger STEAM week coming up in term 3.
We are in an extremely fortunate position as a Nord Anglia School to take advantage of our association with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) who are helping our teachers create some exciting additions to our curriculum and have provided specialist training at MIT for our wonderful STEAM coordinator – Mr Lucas Clemente.
But what is STEAM and where did it start?
STEAM stands for Science Technology Engineering Art Mathematics
STEAM is not new, it is simply a way of understanding and applying a range of subjects in an integrated form of learning that resembles real life. Instead of teaching mathematics as separate from science, both subjects can be taught together in a way that shows how the knowledge and understanding from those two subjects compliment and support each other. STEAM aligns with the way we work and problem solve in our daily lives, we are teaching skills the way they will be used in the workforce, and the real world these are the 21st Century skills of Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication.
Many people have questioned the role Art plays in STEAM when many people feel they can easily choose to take their life in a scientific direction or an artistic direction but when we think of professions such as architecture we see how art and engineering are clearly linked. Art in its broadest form to encompass dance and drama can have its place in helping with the understanding and explanation of complex scientific ideas. In the younger primary years I have taught children about weather patterns with dance, the difference between the solid, liquid and gaseous states with physical expression and how the heart works using drama with each child taking the part of a blood cell! The A in STEAM is without doubt an essential ingredient.
As we progress through this year, keep the STEAM acronym alive in your conversations with children they are the true advocates of how powerful a learning tool it can be. All the many facets of STEAM will help children become creative, innovative adults with exceptional critical thinking and problem solving skills.