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Our District (Bozeman Public Schools, MT) has recently launched a STEM initiative for our K-5 classrooms. The initiative includes teacher training and equipment. We started with training a small group of teachers (16) who will become trainers in the coming years for the rest of our staff (200). We are using Project Lead the Way as a curriculum/training partner.
One question that keeps coming up is STEM vs. STEAM. While I don't disagree that art is equally as important as the other topic areas, some of our community donors are troubled with the addition of art into the discussion. I wanted to be very clear with our business partners and it seems that the addition of art confused the issue.
We are approaching STEM as a way to teach our student critical thinking and problem solving skills. I do see art (design and creativity) as critical elements of problem solving. So I understand why some would want to include art as an essential component of this important initiative.
I would be curious to know other perspectives regarding STEM vs. STEAM