What is STEAM?

As the world explores strategies to equip students with the skills and knowledge that they will need to be successful, there has been a growing emphasis on STEAM.

STEAM is an acronym for the fields of study in the categories of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Previously known as just STEM, this educational approach now includes the arts and design as we have found a formal way to link the subjects together. As you read through this information, you will come to learn how the Maine App Challenge pieces them together!


Why is STEAM important?

In an ever-changing and increasingly complex world, setting students up for future success means exposing them to holistic disciplines to develop critical thinking skills so they can solve problems, make sense of information, and understand how to gather and evaluate evidence.

There is a dynamic synergy between the visual arts and the natural sciences. For instance, science relies heavily on individuals with visual-art skills to provide detailed illustrations, depicting everything from atoms to buildings. Additionally, artists apply analytic, linear, and logical thinking to compose and scale their work of art.


Training in the arts has been shown to improve creativity and innovation. Students learn to approach issues with a critical mind and a positive attitude towards problem solving. Exposure to the arts enhances communication skills, which are essential tools for collaboration and develops flexibility and adaptability.

The next generation of scientists will need to develop their communication skills through both traditional means of writing and speaking, as well as more artistic means including illustrating, animating, videography, cartooning, and model building.

Not only does a STEAM framework teach students how to think critically, problem solve, and use creativity, graduates will also play a vital role in developing meaningful solutions to societal problems, such as COVID-19, and other public health crises our community will undoubtedly face.

Furthermore, a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in STEAM-related occupations of 8% between now and 2029, compared to 3.4% for non-STEM occupations. It also lists median annual wages of $86,980 for STEAM jobs, compared to $39,810 for all occupations. Even for students who don’t choose a career in one of the STEAM fields, the skills gained from this educational approach can be translated into almost any career.

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