STEM vs. STEAM Debate

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STEM vs. STEAM Debate

Anne Sophie Kristiansen
October 18th, 2017

Recently there has been a tug of war between STEM and STEAM. For those of you who haven’t heard of those terms before, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, and STEAM basically just throws art into the mix. The STEAM movement was pioneered by Rhode Island School of Design. STEAM has already been taken on by some institutions, and corporations in the United States.

So what is the great STEAM vs STEM debate about? Continue reading to find out what all the hype is about.

STEM vs STEAM debate


STEM supporters believe there should be a distinct separation between the arts and the sciences. This is to ensure that the arts are not taking anything away from the fundamental importance of science, technology, engineering, and math. What is the big deal? The argument is partially out of fear that American students will not possess fundamental skills that other nations’ students possess. 


The counter argument given by STEAMers is that the “A” in STEAM does not just stand for art, but actually represents the liberal arts, language arts, social studies, physical arts, fine arts, and music. The arts won’t be separate classes instead they will be customisable. You are probably wondering how the classes will be customisable. Well, the arts should be applied to STEM subjects, and hopefully, spark creative thinking, and let students use their imagination. STEAMers say, “Today’s students need tomorrow’s skills”. A STEAM supporter believes the arts will allow 21st-century kids to obtain a well-rounded education. Most STEAM supporter believes that as long as students are motivated they will have a chance at making a difference in the world. 

It is hard to get a clear picture of what STEAM actually is as the concept is still very new, and has not yet been implemented in many places. However, people already have some very clear opinions! What do you think? Is it time for STEM to evolve, and become more well rounded? OR should we stick to what we know? OR will it even make a difference?

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“ The arts should be applied to STEM subjects and hopefully, spark creative thinking, and let students use their imagination. ”

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