Skip to main content
European School Education Platform
Tutorials

How to introduce the ‘A’ in STEAM

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) is an innovative approach to learning that promotes creativity and increases student engagement by integrating arts into scientific subjects. This article will provide educators with ideas and resources for introducing STEAM in the classroom.
Children studying together during a science lesson
Image: Adobe Stock/be free

What is STEAM?

 

STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach to learning that seeks to modernise the way STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects are taught, as they are traditionally taught in an isolated way. The STEAM approach guides students' interest by combining theoretical knowledge with practical applications that encourage students to find solutions to real-world problems. This type of learning environment allows students to develop their communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. While STEM subjects allow students to enhance their technical abilities, it is important that students develop both digital and soft skills for the future of work.

 

Through its interdisciplinary approach, STEAM education can help to address the persistent underrepresentation of women working in STEM fields. According to the European Commission’s Women in Digital Scoreboard 2021, only one third of STEM graduates and 19 % of ICT (information and communications technology) specialists are women. As career aspirations during adolescence tend to influence actual career choices in adulthood, this highlights the importance of fostering an interest in STEM subjects from a young age through interactive and engaging lessons. Increasing the participation of women in STEM fields will not only increase women’s access to well-paid jobs but also help to promote gender equality in technological fields (European Commission, 2021).

 

How to implement STEAM in the classroom

 

There are many ways for teachers to develop their students’ skills through STEAM education, starting first and foremost with themselves.

 

1. Educate the educator

Educators must have the necessary skills and knowledge to teach STEAM concepts to students at primary and secondary school level. To develop their professional skills in this area, educators can take part in training programmes or access online resources for teaching STEAM. Online communities of practice can be another valuable resource for teachers to learn and collaboratively develop best practices in STEAM education.

 

Rethinking your teaching approach, for example by introducing more project-based group work activities, can be a fun way of developing your students’ teamwork and communication skills. Learning by doing creates more meaningful learning experiences for students by showing them how these problems can apply to real-life situations. To go a step further, you can rearrange your classroom to create designated areas for collaborative work or project-based activities.

 

2. Use online tools and resources

There are many EU-funded STEAM projects underway, working with teachers and experts across Europe to produce customisable teaching materials on topics such as historical and cultural heritage. These are useful and free tools for teachers. There are also online digital repositories such as Science is Wonderful! or Europeana, which contain interactive learning activities on scientific topics that use  music, literature, videos, and artworks as learning tools.

 

Choosing a focus area based on your students’ interests and needs can help to increase student engagement in STEM subjects and is especially useful when empowering young girls to explore scientific topics.

 

 

 

3. Address gender bias in the classroom

Increasing girls’ interest and participation in STEM subjects is key for equipping young women with the necessary skills to adapt to an ever-changing labour market. Girls Go Circular is an example of an EU-funded project that is empowering girls in STEM by developing their digital and entrepreneurial skills through the unique lens of the circular economy.

 

Teachers can address gender disparities in STEM by prioritising gender-inclusive teaching methods. This may involve having an open discussion with students about gender equality and encouraging mixed working groups to deconstruct gender stereotypes and biases in the classroom.

 

Teachers can draw inspiration from existing projects and publications to promote awareness of pedagogical aspects that impact on girls’ engagement in scientific subjects and share examples of innovative practices to increase girls’ participation in STEM.

 

 

Additional information

  • Education type:
    School Education
  • Target audience:
    Head Teacher / Principal
    Student Teacher
    Teacher
    Teacher Educator
  • Target audience ISCED:
    Lower secondary education (ISCED 2)
    Upper secondary education (ISCED 3)

Tags

Arts

School subjects

Art
Chemistry
Mathematics / Geometry
Natural Sciences
Physics

Key competences

Maths and science
Science