To STEM or to STEAM?

While learning computer programming, a child expresses her creativity as a game with characters and landscapes as unique as she is. There are polka dots on her buildings and flowers on the street where her equally appealing character goes on a mission to drive villains out of her imagined and created digital world.

While learning about simple machines and engineering of moving things, a child makes a design for his model car and expresses his creativity through drawing. Sharp arrows pointing forward and painted in black on the sides of his car clearly depicting his desire for speed and full speed ahead.

While learning about website designing, a young lady puts imagination of her future store into digital web pages. An artist in making or perhaps an entrepreneur?

While learning about rocket propulsion, future engineers devise their itineraries through the Solar System and the Universe. Many have stops planned for Europa to discover water, some will go as far out as our closest Blackhole to feel its pull, some will circle around the Solar System, some plan to venture to the Asteroid Belt. Moreover, their exquisite designs and expressions of their rockets are as unique as their itineraries.

A group of children make robotic animals leading up to their own petting zoo!

Wondering about structural stability and strength, a group of children decide to enact and tell their Civil Engineering story of the “three little pigs”.

Thinking through mathematical sequences, a classroom of students makes paper snails. These snails are made to artistic perfection with good proportion of coloring while utilizing a mathematical principle used in architecture.

In their quest to design catapults that shoot the farthest, a group of young engineers-in-training research the history of catapults, learning about the various designs tried in the olden ages.


To STEM or to STEAMThese are just a few examples of delivering on our promise of hands-on engagement with our STEM programs. STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. As I had discussed in one of my early posts (First things first… back to basics), for the colors of STEM to really shine, we need a foundation (like a canvas or paper). That foundation is the core skills. What core skills do we emphasize and seamlessly integrate with our programs? These are the 4Cs – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity – foundational pillars for success in this century.


Proponents for a balance of art with sciences have coined the term STEAM. STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.


Think back to the example activities at the top of this post. What do you think – do they represent Science, Engineering, Technology, Math, Arts, History, Language, Role Play or a healthy serving combining them all in varying proportions?


So, whether you want STEM or STEAM for your kids or may be STEAMH (H for history) or any other combination, know that STEM For Kids is STEM with the foundation of 4Cs stretching your child’s imagination and learning through the use of artistic, linguistic, technical and other forms of expression.