Is it STEM or STEAM?

Graphic Design, Puzzles, Illusions, Recreational Math and Science, etc.
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Is it STEM or STEAM?

Postby ColinD » Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:29 pm

Ever since former President Bush unveiled the America Competes Act, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education has been on the fore front of many federal debates that focus on education. These STEM Initiatives are aimed at re-establishing the United States of America as some of the World's leading scientific minds and technological innovators. However, there are several opponents to the STEM Initiative that say focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is not enough. They don't discount the importance of gaining a specific expertise in these fields, but say that there must be a push for a well rounded education that includes creativity by focusing on the Arts as well. How important is it to foster the creative as well as the intellectual? At the same time, does Mathematica offer the artistic and analytic a chance to meet in the middle (design, arts, entertainment, etc...)?
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Re: Is it STEM or STEAM?

Postby Tasha_Dunaway » Fri Apr 09, 2010 2:57 pm

Hi, Colin,

I think that's a great question. You can't deny the relationship between art, math, and science so why stop at STEM? I'm reminded of Michael Trott's beautiful images in Graphica:
http://www.graphica.com/see-it/

The artistic quality of Wolfram Research co-founder Theo Gray's The Elements app for the iPad is another great example:
http://touchpress.com/

Has anyone heard of programs that try to integrate these subjects together rather than segmenting them? Do any of you encourage the artistic perspective in STEM classes, and if so, how do you go about it? How do the students respond?

Best,

Tasha
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Re: Is it STEM or STEAM?

Postby Mark_Sullivan » Thu Apr 29, 2010 9:39 pm

A colleague and I started a program, at the middle school level, that is proposing
to start youth working on projects involving digital video and audio, and language
arts (aka hip hop poetry) and draw them into various kinds of more technical
understanding of their media - like how a digital camera works, how a screen
displays images, how a sound can be represented in a computer, etc. We are
in the second year, and have had some success, but have a long way to go.
One program we have used, since the schools don't have a budget for programs
like Mathematica, is scratch, from MIT which is programming language of sorts
that supports the creation of audio and video through programming (it has a
game interface metaphor). That part is in its very early stages. I'd be very
interested in hearing if anyone is using Mathematica in a STEAM project
or enviroment.
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