Turning STEM into STREAM: Writing as an Essential Component of Science Education
There is a movement afoot to turn the acronym STEM—which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—into STEAM by adding the arts. Science educators have finally begun to realize that the skills required by innovative STEM professionals include arts and crafts thinking. Visual thinking; recognizing and forming patterns; modeling; getting a "feel" for systems; and the manipulative skills learned by using tools, pens, and brushes are all demonstrably valuable for developing STEM abilities. And the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts have gotten the message: formal meetings between the two agencies have begun in order to figure out how to fund productive research and teaching at the intersection of these sets of disciplines. The agencies also realized that adding the arts to STEM is not enough. We also need to add the thinking skills embodied in reading and writing. STEAM may condense into STREAM!