STEAM: The Next Generation of STEM

girl in stemFor the past several years STEM has been a big buzzword in both the political and educational arenas. Now were are moving from STEM to STEAM. What is STEAM you wonder? The next generation of the STEM movement. The idea that we can incorporate various “arts” into the world of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. These arts include physical, language, liberal, social, as well as fine arts and music. According to Deron Cameron, Former UPES Principal- US’s 1st STEAM Certified School and Current TCSS Curriculum Coordinator, “STEAM represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. In essence, we dare our students to be wrong, to try multiple ideas, listen to alternate opinions and create a knowledge base that is applicable to real life as opposed to simply an exam”. It’s a sort of “Learn by Doing” approach that 4-H is traditionally known for.

There are many ways that 4-H can help to incorporate the arts into the learning process. Project books, competing and participating in 4-H events are an excellent way to learn and enhance skill sets. Project books that focus on the arts that are available are photography, visual arts, theatre arts, sewing, woodworking and cooking. Youth can participate in events at local youth fairs in the Home Arts Division to showcase their artistic abilities in the kitchen, horticulture, sewing/needlework, photography, animal fever as well as the home arts category which includes; woodworking, sculpture, paperwork, hand-made crafts, home decorations, ceramics, furniture, scale models and art such as painting and drawing. Other opportunities for youth to participate in include demonstrations and illustrated talks at County, District and State Events in the categories of Communication and Expressive Arts and Family and Consumer Sciences such as; Leisure and Performing Arts, Communication and Media Arts, Childcare and Development as well as Clothing and Sewing. Youth even have the opportunity to model and exhibit their artistic skills through Fashion Review, Share the Fun and even the 4-H Showcase at the Florida State Fair.

To learn more about how to incorporate the STEAM Initiative into your 4-H experience please contact your local 4-H office. You can also view resources on Florida 4-H and National 4-H. Please see the website listings below: