The reason we need to speak more about STEM /STEAM based learning is our changing education policy, the restricted home environment for learning, learning to keep up with real world problem solving.The traditional approach, textual based learning , reading ,memorizing, recite and evaluation or passive learning wont help to keep up with interests and development of the child in changing scenarios.STEM learning focuses on building a mindset for a child why they are learning , how can they use what they are learning rather than just learning.
Another misconception that STEM/STEAM is about robotics and coding only is not true, though it is a part of STEM based learning .STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM based learning collaborate knowledge from all these fields into actual practice or problem solving. It is based on inquiry , think and solve using the knowledge learnt in various fields. STEM based learning focus on questioning and active participation , communication of students rather than passive listeners.
STEM based learning teaches innovation, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration. It is basically about not focusing as topics or subjects as individual disciplines but how the knowledge’s are used or linked together to solve a problem or build a solution. Stem is a interdisciplinary approach using the knowledge learnt from different disciplines like of energy -changing states, measurement and estimation , designing, development , building , prototyping in a cyclical process always ready to incorporate changes with development.Lets take a real life example of job – Architect how they use skills from maths science and engineering, technology together to understand every details of the architecture to build the structure , how to make it durable , perfectly structured ,using latest technology .
In education STEM based learning is implemented through various activities , experiments, projects to help them use the concepts they have learnt in various subjects together according to their grade levels and age. It helps them focus on learning with a more higher order thinking by putting to use and questioning why they are learning what they are learning . eg:-Learning to built a catapult , lever or bridge with objects given to achieve the desired working result. Making an ecosystem covering various aspects of habitat, using maths to make real world comparison and measurement problems or problem solving.
It works on creating interest in childs mind for the topic example if a child is learning maths at early levels instead of just teaching them numbers and sequence , how these numbers help us to make comparison which is more or less , how much more and how much less , trying to use concept of numbers to solve problems and helping the child to develop critical thinking towards the number topic taught.
STEM represents science, technology, engineering and maths. “STEAM” represents STEM plus the arts – humanities, language arts, dance, drama, music, visual arts, design and new media. STEAM curriculum helps maximize both left (analytical thinking) and right (imaginative thinking) brain functions, abilities to innovate, collaborate, and think outside the box.
STEAM represents real world problem solving or application of STEM , creative and new ways to solve problem , presentation, displaying data. Example such as – the mathematics of the parabola used to create fine art imagery, Leonardo Da Vinci has shown us the importance of combining science and art to make discoveries.
Some of the greatest innovations in Technology from Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg or Apple is associated with STEM education (Science, Technology, Education, Math) with influence of arts and humanities played an important role in shaping their vision and achievements.
Its this ability to look into real life problems or necessity with human relation and comfortability and accessibility, product with design and details addressed from a customer and creative point led to the great idea of these innovations. STEAM focuses on application of STEM through art and design. eg: Photography involves all aspects from chemistry of photography, physics and maths of optics and engineering in camera design.
In education use of art , visuals or presentations to display data or pictorial form of knowledge in a more appealing , understandable and varied analytical view and able to draw summaries for real world questions or examples. It can also be used to make innovations made using other fields to be put to use for a real task eg: Making a simple physics lever of different forms and how can it be used in real situation with restrictions of energy , power , time or distance.
STEM / STEAM based learning focuses on developing learning from application point of view rather than just for knowledge , though it needs to be systematically developed because all kids are not same some need to be guided through the process to develop such thinking for a successful future. Its a broader concept does not restrict to one subject or one solution best for all problems but able to wove all these disciplines together is the main aim of STEAM based learning.Today there are many toys or boxes available with all necessary equipment’s and details to enhance hands on experience learning, but we also can use our daily life examples to develop collaborative learning
Stem activities :