The acronym “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics), one of the past decade’s most prominent educational buzzwords, is quickly becoming out-of-date. Taking its place on the podium, is the successor term “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts, & mathematics). The argument for the integration of arts into the STEM curriculum is based on evidence that children learn in a variety of ways and need to develop art and design capabilities in order to create new technologies and make new discoveries.
In this article, TheGrantHelpers.com provides resources and information that justify the integration of arts into the STEM curriculum. These resources can bolster a grant application for STEAM. In addition, there are funding agencies and websites related to grants awards for STEAM eduction, research, and development.
Resources and References
In the top TED talk of all time, Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity,” Sir Robinson discusses the fact that children are born artists but are being educated out of their capacities to stay artists. He explains that schools all over the world have a curricular hierarchy that places subjects like mathematics at the top and arts at the bottom, and he adds that degrees today are not worth anything. Whereas degrees in prior decades made a big difference in the job market, today’s citizens who have earned degrees are still headed home, unable to get a job. Creativity, he says, adds value to the degree.
In “Full STEAM Ahead: Arts, STEM and 21st Century Learning,” Doug Haller discusses various research projects being conducted that link how the brain works and how research findings apply to the integration of arts into the STEM fields.
Even lawmakers have caught on, as pending legislation to add the arts to STEM to make “STEAM” gains traction—in both government as well as research circles. House Resolution 319, introduced by Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into federal programs that target Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.”
Because of the movement encouraging arts integration into the STEM curriculum, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are both exploring the intersection of art and science through various workshops and events. You can read more about this in “Bridging STEM to STEAM: Developing New Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy.”
There have been several case studies conducted on the integration of art into the STEM curriculum. One, by stemtosteam.org, which is founded by the Rhode Island School of Design, focuses on Sesame Street’s intentions to integrate arts into its STEM focus by introducing a segment called “Elmo the Musical,” in which Elmo uses dances and sings as he uses his imagination to navigate through STEM concepts. Sesame Street plans to continue its use of STEAM-based learning by offering learning tools and games on its website.
Examples of Grants
To see examples of grants that have been awarded for STEAM research and development, such as the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, you may wish to visit Education Week’s article “STEAM: Experts Make Case for Adding Arts to STEM.”
Examples of Funding Agencies
Federal agencies funding STEAM include the following:
- National Science Foundation
- National Endowment for the Arts
- US Department of Education
- US Department of Agriculture (HSI Education Grants Program)
A few of the many major Foundations that have recently funded STEAM education initiatives include:
- AT&T Foundation
- MacArthur Foundation
- American Honda Foundation
- Silicon Valley Community Foundation
- The Abell Foundation
There are plenty of resources, studies, and ideas about students’ learning and how the arts can have a positive effect on the STEM curriculum. TheGrantHelpers.com is here to help you find the funding you need to incorporate arts into your own STEM curriculum in order to give today’s students the tools and instruction they need to be creative innovators of the future.
Image credit: aussiegall