Why is STEM/STEAM Important for Your Students?

Reflecting on Skills this National STEM/STEAM Day

National STEM/STEAM Day is November 8th, and we’re excited to celebrate. STEM skills are a critical component of any PreK-12 learning environment in order to prepare students for an ever-evolving workforce.

Every district has a unique approach to STEM instruction — some have built incredible makerspaces, others emphasize project-based learning, some focus on the 4 C’s (collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking), some might provide additional opportunities for experiential learning and community outreach, and still more use a combination of many strategies, including those listed here.

No matter the approach, the education community widely agrees that STEM instruction is a crucial element of any child’s PreK-12 experience. We asked a few educators from The Art of Teaching Project what they believe is the most important skill a student should develop from STEM learning experiences. Here are a few of their answers:

“There are so many incredible skills that students develop through a high-quality STEM/STEAM education. To me, the greatest benefit of STEM/STEAM education is developing the students’ problem-solving skills and, in turn, helping students gain the confidence to be creative thinkers and persevere when a challenge gets tough. Students will be tackling difficult challenges their entire lives so it’s very important that they start practicing these skills at a young age.” — Brittany Murro, iSTEM Teacher, @BrittanyMurro
“The most important skill a student can develop as a result of STEAM education is the skill of creativity. Yes, creativity is a skill that can be practiced, developed and grown as a result of solid STEAM education! It is the most important because so many of tomorrow’s jobs will require design, crafting and experimenting with new ideas and technology.” — Beth Maloney, 5th Grade Teacher @DaringToTeach
“I love doing STEM projects with my students. I think STEM teaches kids many different skills, but perseverance is the most important skill they learn. Students must persevere when a task is difficult. They must test, try, and improve several solutions when completing a STEM challenge which is a life skill they need to be successful adults.” — Karla Banks, Special Education Teacher @LifeNSpecialEd

What do you believe is the most important skill a student should gain from STEM/STEAM experiences? What are your strategies for fostering those skills?