STEAM, where the ‘A’ represents arts and humanities is conceptualized as a transdisciplinary learning process. It incorporates content areas, encouraging exploration through multiple methods, when investigating a problem or issue.
For example, students may be given a problem involving creating new walking path to their school because the current path is submerged due to increased rainfall. The problem solving approach will involve thinking across multiple disciplines to find solutions. One possibility might include keeping the same route to the playground but replacing the concrete with more permeable surfaces. The students would need to understand the difference of permeable surfaces (i.e., stones, mulch) impermeable surfaces (i.e., concrete, blacktop) and the amount of water permeable surfaces can hold. They would need to research the amount of rainfall that area typically receives. To create an aesthetically pleasing design, they would need to understand the current design choices and suggest a solution in line with the parks aesthetics. They might suggest constructing rain gardens in the submerged area and re-routing the pathway around the rain garden.
STEAM often incorporates project-based learning and relies on technology throughout the problem-solving and collaboration processes. Students typically create a number of solutions for a problem that might not have one definite answer. This also means their final projects or results often vary from one another.
Want to learn more about bringing STEAM and PBL to your classrooms? Click on the links to the right.