The Difference Between STEM vs STEAM
What is STEM vs STEAM, and does one approach make more difference than the other? In education, both STEM and STEAM provide teachers effective and meaningful ways to connect with and engage students.
In both approaches, the idea isn’t about giving one subject equal or greater time to the others. Rather, STEM and STEAM classes are well rounded, taking an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on projects and inquiry.
In this post, join Otto DIY to discover the difference between STEM vs STEAM, and learn why Otto embraces STEM plus the Arts.
Key Differences: What is STEM vs STEAM?
The main difference between STEM vs STEAM is that STEM focuses explicitly on teaching scientific concepts. STEAM on the other hand investigates these same concepts, although it does so through inquiry and creative problem-solving.
Think of a class working together to create a visually appealing product or object based on an understanding of a STEM concept. It might be something like representing the mathematics of the parabola to create fine arts images.
With STEAM, students develop skills they will use in the real world and in the workforce. Take for example architects. They deploy science, math, engineering, technology, and design to perform their jobs. Very rarely nowadays do professions require only one skill set.
Why is learning STEAM important for young learners?
For educators, there is an ever greater need for STEM concepts to integrate with the Arts. Businesses and industries now seek “future-ready” employees who possess multiple areas of expertise, or at least appreciate wider skill sets.
In a STEAM project, the cross-curricular setting often makes it much easier for students to make logical connections between concepts. It also provides a way to make lessons more exciting, hands-on, and engaging.
Including the Arts into STEM encourages collaborative discovery and inventive problem-solving. It helps students develop an understanding of concepts in tandem, and practices integrating principles and presenting information.
How does STEAM improve students’ learning?
STEAM supports the “4 C’s” as identified vital to 21st Century education: Creativity, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Communication. Perhaps more importantly, however, STEAM leads us to the skills of the 22nd Century: Connection, Care, Community, and Culture.
The Arts alongside STEM, simply put, better represents real-life and the challenges today’s students will face in the future workforce. STEAM provides students ways to learn in an applied way, as part of a greater whole, instead of the traditional approach of individual knowledge silos.
For young learners, STEAM lessons often have a stronger impact and tend to be more memorable. They also ensure vital skills in the humanities aren’t neglected in the classroom. In this way, students learn how to apply knowledge, research, and skills to real-life problem solving.
Why robots make for perfect STEAM projects
Very often nowadays, simple to advanced robotics kits are making their way into STEAM classrooms and lesson plans. Robot kits (like Otto) are not only kid-friendly, but have been built for educational purposes.
Otto, for example, makes for the perfect at-home or classroom STEAM project for many reasons. By assembling Otto and connecting the electronics, you have a fun way to discover mechanical and electrical engineering.
The Arts in STEAM comes into play through both coding and designing Otto. There are endless possibilities of games and programs Otto can run. Our community is also constantly showing off their design skills with new Otto configurations and programs to solve different problems.
How to incorporate robots in the classroom
A STEAM project with Otto can start with something as simple as playing games to encourage physical, social, and reflex skills. With older students, they can build a robot with supervision or on their own to start making logical connections about how mechanics and electronics interact.
A perfect project to encourage teamwork, building an Otto and then diving into coding is great for small groups. This is where you see the connection between code and action, and can start bringing Otto to life with its own unique personality.
In later stages of Otto projects, students can learn about AI and machine learning. They can even deploy programs in Arduino, Python, or more advanced coding languages. Take it a step further, and introduce 3D printing to the classroom and print Otto’s external parts.
While for some parents and teachers it might seem a daunting task, getting started with STEAM robotics is easy. Otto Academy is your one-stop place to find loads of material to develop effective and engaging lesson plans.
The same is true if building Otto as a family project, but you might also be interested in our latest project. Otto At Home recently launched, with Builders’ Kits and resources going out to support families and schools across the EU with distance learning.
Our goal is to get as many Ottos into STEAM learning environments as possible, and to show the world why Otto is the best educational robot on the market. Otto is the robot kit for all ages and robot enthusiasts.
To discover Otto for yourself