STEAM: Putting the A in STEM Education

STEAM is an acronym for an approach to education aiming to embed the Arts into the curriculum through Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. STEAM education works in an interdisciplinary or cross-curricular way, to ensure students have the relevant skills needed for the 21st Century workplace and to solve real-world problems.

"STEAM is about applying creative thinking to STEM subjects, and sparking students’ imagination and creativity through the arts". - Teachhub

The A in STEAM includes a broad spectrum of the arts, from fine arts & design to music and drama.

Some educationalists believe a STEAM focused curriculum can “better teach academic and life skills in a standards-backed, reality-based, personally relevant exploratory learning environment”.


Recent research by the University of Florida showed, “On average, students who study the arts for 4 years in high school score 98 points higher on the SATs compared to those who study the same for half a year or less”. - Source

The World Economic Forum recently published a report stating the most important employee skills by 2020 would be: Complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and co-ordinating with others (teamwork). - Source

Lucinda Lavelli, Dean of the University of Florida, College of the Arts asserts: “The arts provide key skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, and adaptability.” - Source

The ATAI and anyone involved in the field of art would agree these key skills are intrinsic to the arts. Rather than the arts taking away from time spent on STEM subjects, it should be seen as a complementary mode of learning, integrated and valued within the senior cycle curriculum in a meaningful cross-curricular/interdisciplinary way.