STEAM vs STEM: Difference, Benefits, Careers & More

What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym used to describe science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. This is typically used to describe curricula, college degrees, and careers.

What is STEAM?

STEAM is an acronym used to describe science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. This term is similar to STEM but adds the ‘A’ to put an extra emphasis on the art and creative side of careers and education.

Difference Between STEAM and STEM

STEM and STEAM are very similar in their approach to education and overall mission. The major difference is that STEAM highlights arts in the acronym, putting a focus on the creative thought process and problem solving skills. This inclusion is meant to highlight the importance of soft skills in learning and STEM careers.

Benefits of STEAM Education

Below is a list of benefits that STEAM and STEM education have on students.

Prepares Students for Future Careers

STEM careers are growing faster than any other workforce. By providing students with quality STEM/STEAM education, parents and educators are putting them in a position to succeed throughout their education and future careers. 

Improves Collaboration and Critical Thinking Skills

STEM/STEAM activities promote collaboration and critical thinking skills. Regardless of a student’s grade level, it is important to exercise these skills that simulate real world situations. If children are able to strengthen these skills during their education, it will make them more competitive during job interviews and more successful in their future careers.

Exercises Students’ Problem Solving Skills

The ability to problem solve is a great skill for students to have both personally and professionally. STEM/STEAM learning promotes the exercise of these skills through hands-on, complex lessons. STEM/STEAM is a great time for students to use this skill because concepts often relate to real world examples, providing them additional perspective when working through a problem or lesson.

Helps Teach Adversity in Difficult Situations

STEM subjects are often viewed as difficult. By giving students early and frequent exposure to these subjects, they are learning to navigate difficult situations rather than avoiding them. As their STEM skills continue to develop, they may not view this as a difficult situation to overcome, but rather a problem to dive into and solve. This change in perspective will benefit them throughout almost every aspect in their lives. 

Strengthens Hard and Soft Skills

STEM/STEAM education is a great way for parents, educators, and facilitators to ensure students are working on both their hard and soft skills. Hard skills are always a focal point of education; but sometimes soft skills are disregarded. Research shows employers find soft skills equally important when interviewing a candidate for a job.

How STEM Sports® Teaches STEM and STEAM Education

At STEM Sports®, we believe STEM and STEAM are one and the same. Our mission is to strengthen soft skills through hands-on lessons meant to improve science, technology, engineering, and technology literacy. STEM education should help improve student literacy in these subjects while preparing them for the future. 

Each STEM Sports® curriculum is created to promote collaboration, critical thinking, problem solving, and adaptability. When students are engaging with the curriculum, they are participating in disguised learning through the use of sports. While they think they are playing, they are actually improving their STEM literacy, learning to connect what they are learning to the real world, and strengthening their soft skills.

Frequently Asked Questions About STEAM and STEM

How Do I Facilitate STEM and STEAM in Early Education?

Early implementation of STEM concepts is key to comprehension, comfortability, and awareness. If you are interested in learning more about how to implement STEM/STEAM in primary education, read ‘Starting STEM Young- Why STEM Exposure in Early Education is Key’.

How are STEM and STEAM Education Important to Future Careers?

With rapidly changing and expanding technology, new STEM jobs are appearing all around the world. This trend is set to continue in future years. This makes STEM/STEAM education even more important because we will need passionate, qualified individuals to fill these roles. If you are interested in learning more, read ‘How STEM Curriculum & Education is Preparing Students for Future Careers’.

How Do I Implement STEM/STEAM in the Classroom?

For first time facilitators, it can be difficult to decide when and how to introduce STEM/STEAM learning. To learn more about how to successfully implement this curriculum, read ‘Tips for Teaching STEM to Elementary Students’ and ‘Tips for Teaching STEM to Middle School Students’.

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