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Why STEM changed to STEAM (and what it means for your student)

Why STEM changed to STEAM (and what it means for your student)

National STEM/STEAM Day is coming up (November 8) and there's no need to be embarrassed if you don't know what the acronyms stand for. Often referred to as S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), the addition of the A was to include "Arts." Part of the shift came from the realization that a big part of innovation includes education in arts-related disciplines as well. You need look no further than game and design to understand how the arts could intersect with technology, or robotics to understand how the arts could intersect with engineering.

The change to include the Arts is incredibly beneficial in that it helps broaden the scope of interest for students who may have a passion for studying the arts but may feel hesitant to pursue the field instead of STEM-focused pursuits. By incorporating arts under the STEAM umbrella, students may feel more engaged (and even supported) in their choices of education and career. 

And there appears to be evidence to back up the theory. A National Endowment for the Arts study found that an appreciation and knowledge base in the arts stemming from a STEAM education actually translated into a more accurate path to college. High school sophomores were tracked through their mid-20s to better understand if those who became art students were at a disadvantage compared to other students. The study confirmed that:

1. Arts students were more likely to apply to more colleges than non-arts students.

2. Arts students were 21% more likely to attend a postsecondary institution than non-arts students.

3. Arts students were just as likely to receive scholarships as their non-arts peers.

4. Arts students were just as likely to pursue STEM majors as non-arts students.

To learn more about the integration of arts into STEM, visit https://artsintegration.com/what-is-steam-education-in-k-12-schools/.

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