A New Era in STEM

Monica Post, STEM Coordinator

The acronym STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) has been pretty widely used since the early 2000s. But you may now be aware of a new, similar acronym- STEAM. The A for Arts was added several years later and is becoming more and more commonly used. Here’s why:

Here at BGCCI, we offer Science activities such as our Geology Rocks unit where members explore how different rocks are formed. Technology by learning how to operate 3D printers and code computers. Engineering through identifying a problem, designing and testing a solution and Math, through fun math games. But we have also been aware that each of these disciplines involve an art aspect. So, as we learn about rocks, we do an activity called Rock the Neighborhood. Members tiny artworks on small rocks in non-toxic paint and place them around the neighborhood for others to find and share. As we learn about technology, we also learn how to design pieces that can be 3D printed. In engineering, the design of a practical solution usually involves the need to make it aesthetically pleasing. And finally, math – math and art are intertwined in so many ways, including vanishing points to geometry.

BGCCI has recognized the importance of STEAM in inspiring and enabling young people for the future. STEAM activities are a part of all of our Club programs because they foster innovation, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking skills. This spring, members have been using traditional hand tools to engineer and build mini machines like motorized cars, hydraulic lifts and full-size guitars. Elementary members are designing, building and coding cities with LEGOs.

Leonardo Davinci had it right when he said: “To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.