Go beyond the acronym to optimize the potential of STEM education and prepare students for the future by boosting their 21st century skills.

As more letters are added to the STEM acronym, whether it’s the A for arts in STEAM, or the R in STREAM for reading and writing, some people spend time debating which acronym is best. The reality is that regardless of which acronym speaks to you, STEM, STEAM, and STREAM are all on the same side, focusing on teaching students the 21st century skills they need to succeed, such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and communication. Let’s take a look at what STEM education really is, and also what it isn’t.

1. STEM education is the intersection of science, technology, engineering, and math.

STEM educationIt is not about teaching each subject in isolation. Rather than teaching these subjects separately, the focus of STEM education should reveal to students the ways in which these subjects connect and intersect. When students are given the opportunity to make connections and apply what they’ve learned in one subject to something in another subject, they gain a deeper understanding of the concept and begin to understand its importance.