Rebuilding smart and diverse communities of interest through STEAM immersion learning

Abstract:

A STEAM-based approach to education is presented that encompasses science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), with the addition of “the Arts” as a means of reversing continuing declines in science, math, and reading scores in U.S. secondary schools and to better prepare future STEAM scholars and professionals. This is despite the significant emphasis U.S. schools have placed on STEM curricula for nearly the past 20 years. The 2014 New York State Department of Labor report states, the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) has indicated that the United States needs at least one million more STEM workers than is currently available. The report also cites that 75 percent of students who graduate with a STEM-related degree do not take STEM jobs; however, the need for STEM careers is 2.5 times higher than other fields within New York State. A case study of Project Fibonacci® is presented whose approach is one of immersive learning that emphasizes math within a STEAM context, holding focused STEAM educational forums, and establishing centers of excellence in STEAM education. This may offer additional benefits beyond traditional STEM-only approaches. There is an upward trend towards STEAM-focused curricula driven by the decline in academic scores, which provides more challenges for our youth to compete in the global workforce; and recognizing that STEAM builds upon math as the interconnection between the science and art disciplines, thus expanding career opportunities and experience that ensure a well-rounded citizenry. We are rediscovering the need for balancing the cognitive and logical sides of the brain with the creative force to engender an agile, growth-driven nationwide community.


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