Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. Math.
A recent poll suggests that by 2018, there could be 2.4 million jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that are unfilled in our country- jobs that ensure our national security and position as a global innovation leader.
Despite this alarming gap, U.S. elementary schools only devote an average of 2.3 hours/week to science instruction- a decline of 43 minutes since 1994.
African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, and Alaska Natives (historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups) account for an approximate 10 percent of the country’s STEM workforce. Women, while representing half of all college-educated workers in the United States, made up just 28 percent of STEM workers in 2010.
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. The idea of emphasizing these subjects in delivering the curriculum has been driven by the business community, with the goal of preparing an agile and competitive workforce.
It is important to note that STEAM is not a program, but a philosophy. In the real-world, content knowledge is interwoven, layered and sophisticated, not experienced in isolation such as in traditional education settings (separate math time, separate science time, etc.).
STEAM skills are vital for success in the 21st century and critical to our collective future. Key 21st century learning skills are emphasized through project-based learning and interdisciplinary (across subjects) activities.