November 8 is National STEM/STEAM Day, dedicated to encouraging kids and adults to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math.

To celebrate, we’re giving a shout-out to what makes STEM/STEAM education vital and sharing some resources to help you start a STEM/STEAM program in your school.

STEM vs. STEAM

For nearly 20 years, K-12 teachers have used STEM curricula (science, technology, engineering, and math) in the classroom. This applied, project-based method helps students develop the problem-solving and decision-making skills they need to excel now and in their future careers.

In the last few years, educators have started adding art to the STEM mix, to form STEAM. Whether you prefer the traditional STEM or the emerging STEAM approach, both prepare students well for the fast-evolving job landscape.

STEM/STEAM Education Prepares Students for the Future

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in STEM occupations is expanding faster than non-STEM occupations.

With the growing need for employees with STEM skills and the great earning potential, it’s easy to see why STEM/STEAM education is important. If you already use STEM/STEAM lessons in your classroom—that’s great! If not, below are some ideas and resources to get you started.

STEM/STEAM Program Tips

To set your STEM/STEAM program up for success, make sure it includes:

  • Teacher-led instruction combined with integrated technology
  • Project- and lab-based learning environments for students
  • A student-centered learning model with strong leadership from teachers
  • Support from parents
  • Teachers with professional training who are experts in their fields

STEM/STEAM Resources:

Not sure how to begin incorporating STEM/STEAM into your classroom? Try one or more of these ready-made resources:

  • CoderDojo – An open source, volunteer-led, global movement that provides free coding clubs for young people. Students between the ages of 5 and 17 learn how to code, and develop websites, apps, and games.
  • LEGO® Education – Through STEM/STEAM-focused products and services, LEGO Education empowers K-12 students to be creative, collaborative solution-seekers.
  • NMSI’s College Readiness Program – This comprehensive approach helps teachers deliver rigorous math and science courses. This involves training, teacher, and student support, and uses incentives to encourage participation.
  • Eurekus STEAM & Maker Discovery – This organization partners with NASA and nonprofits to offer fun, hands-on, creative projects for kids.
  • STEAM Lesson Plan Bank – With a paid membership, gain access to lesson plans, video training, project templates, and more.
  • FIRST® Robotics – This nonprofit organization helps young people discover and develop a passion for STEM. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition.

Whether you incorporate STEM or STEAM lessons into your classroom, you’re helping to prepare your students to succeed in the employment landscape of the future.

 

Looking to take your teaching career to the next level? Explore online master’s in education degrees at Capella University.

 

Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.