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Why kids need more STEM & STEAM

What's the difference between STEM and STEAM? Here's what you need to know about this type of learning, how it benefits your kids, and how it can impact their future career success. 

Intrigued by STEM/STEAM education and wonder if it can improve your kid's learning? STEM/STEAM is a popular approach to learning that we offer at Outschool, but what is it exactly, and how can it benefit your child's education? 

Here's what you need to know about this type of learning and its benefits to learning engagement, results, and your kid's future career success. 


First, what is STEM, and what is STEAM? If you're new to these terms, you may wonder what the difference is between these two acronyms.

Well, quite simply, STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

These are convenient acronyms, and people sometimes just use them to quickly summarize key science and arts disciplines children need to learn to continue their education. 

However, there's much more to STEM/STEAM than just an easy-to-remember acronym. STEAM/STEAM is a way of teaching these subjects, not just naming them. You can even say that it's a whole philosophy that believes in well-rounded education rooted in real life. 

STEM/STEAM teaching emphasizes learning that is inquiry-based and interdisciplinary.

It teaches students that the sciences (and the arts, in the case of STEAM) are interconnected and are best learned as sets of practical skills for real life and the workplace. 

An example of the STEM approach would be teaching science subjects in preparation for medical training. A medical doctor doesn't just use different areas of knowledge in isolation. Instead, a doctor must know biology, anatomy, chemistry, and math to understand the human body and how it can be healed with medicines. 

Most people nowadays work with complex real-life problems that require unique combinations of knowledge and critical thinking. STEAM helps kids integrate different kinds of knowledge into a unified approach. It's like seeing the whole picture rather than just different components of it.

STEM and STEAM are very similar approaches to learning, but they are slightly different. STEAM adds the 'arts' component to STEM learning, which is to say it highlights the importance of creativity in learning and applying the sciences. 

Being creative and finding unexpected solutions to problems is an integral part of doing almost any job well. 

Whether your child becomes a doctor, a professor, or an engineer, they will need more than just hard knowledge to complete projects, solve problems, or innovate in their chosen field. 

STEAM can involve teaching art in order to foster creativity, or the 'A' can simply act as a reminder for teachers to let kids explore and express their creativity when learning the sciences. 

Some people even believe that there isn't much difference between STEM and STEAM because STEM still nurtures creativity; still, many teachers like adding the 'A' to avoid losing sight of the importance of individual thinking in learning. 

Why are STEM/STEAM subjects important?

The STEM approach is more important to kids' learning than ever before because so many jobs nowadays require people to think creatively and apply different fields of knowledge to solving problems.

Unless your child is preparing for an academic career with a narrow specialization, most employers want to see that a person can apply their knowledge in flexible ways. 

Thinking critically and being adaptable are highly valued skills that go beyond simply memorizing facts or having the ability to solve scientific problems.

Another benefit of STEM/STEAM education is that it promotes better social skills, such as collaboration. Many employers prefer hiring people who can work well with others as part of a team and like sharing ideas. Better-rounded kids who learn to share ideas and debate with others tend to make more adaptable adults. 

How Outschool can help you support your kids' STEM/STEAM success

At Outschool, we have STEAM classes for kids of all age groups, from the age of 3 all the way to age 18. Whether you and your child are just at the beginning of your STEM journey or you'd like to give your high schooler a boost before they apply to college, we have tailor-made classes that will help them succeed in all the key science subjects. 

If you'd like your kid to learn more about how the human body works or are helping them prepare for a career as an engineer, we have the right class for them. 

Outschool STEM/STEAM classes 

Outschool has thousands of budget-friendly classes. If you’re looking to help your kids explore Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, or Math, we’ve got you covered. 

Science classes

Wants physics lessons, science tutoring, or online science experiments? You’ll find it on Outschool. Try an agriculture class, explore neuroscience, outer space, forensic science, veterinary science, earth science, and more. 

Technology classes

Have a techie on your hands? Give them classes on robotics, electronics, architecture, rockets, 3D printing, and automotive

Engineering classes

Try our convenient online engineering classes for kids. Learn about inventions, take a CAD class, create your own video game, or learn about construction or aviation

Arts & crafts classes

If you’re more captivated by STEAM and its emphasis on creativity, don't forget to check out our unique and fun art classes. Your budding artist has a lot of options to choose from. Try online painting, fashion, art clubs, photography,3D modeling, performance art, interior design, or crafts

Math classes 

If your little one is a math genius in the making, we have coding and tech classes to satisfy their curiosity about applying math to writing code. Plus, math classes, math games, and math tutoring

Whether you’re hoping to teach your kids life skills, get them career-ready, or impart a love of books, Outschool is here to help. 

Anna CottrellAnna Cottrell is a freelance writer and editor with a background in higher education. She has taught English and is the author of a book about 1930s literature and culture.

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