Topic Tuesday #55 2013/08/06 - "STEM or STEAM?"

Topic Tuesday #55 2013/08/06 - "STEM or STEAM?"

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 
You may also hear the use of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ARTS, and Mathematics).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) uses a broader category to define STEM subjects which includes subjects in the fields of Chemistry, Computer and Information Technology Science, Engineering, Geosciences, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Social Sciences (Anthropology, Economics, Psychology and Sociology), and STEM Education and Learning Research.
Lately STEM programs have been in the news and in politics while talking about the competitive ability of the United States with a modern industrial and technology complex like China. Job creation (always a hot topic) drew focus on STEM education as a platform for 21st century job growth.  The Department of Commerce calls careers in STEM fields are some of the best paying and have the greatest potential for job growth. 
STEM is not just a US centric program topic. The UK has also been engaged in building interest and fostering early education in STEM fields. 

Feb 4th 2013 saw House Resolution 51 for the 113th 1st session of Congress. It's short, so I will include it here. If you do not want to read it, in summary, it was to encourage STEM and STEAM program growth. It was referred to two committees (H. Education and the Workforce, and H. Science, Space, and Technology committees) and nothing further has been accomplished at the time of this post.

HOUSE RESOLUTION 51 113th Congress

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into Federal programs that target the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States. 
Whereas the innovative practices of art and design play an essential role in improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and advancing STEM research; Whereas art and design provide real solutions for our everyday lives, distinguish United States products in a global 
marketplace, and create opportunity for economic growth; 
Whereas artists and designers can effectively communicate complex data and scientific information to multiple stakeholders and broad audiences; Whereas the tools and methods of design offer new models 
for creative problem-solving and interdisciplinary partnerships in a changing world; 
Whereas artists and designers are playing an integral role in the development of modern technology; 
Whereas artists and designers are playing a key role in manufacturing; and Whereas May would be an appropriate month to designate as ‘‘STEM-to-STEAM Month’’: Now, therefore, be it 
Resolved, That the House of Representatives— 
(1) recognizes the importance of art and design in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; 
(2) supports the designation of ‘‘STEM-to-STEAM Month’’; 
(3) encourages the inclusion of art and design in the STEM fields during reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act; 
(4) encourages the inclusion of art and design in the STEM fields during reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; and 
(5) encourages the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of the Department of Education, the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Director of the National Science Foundation to develop a STEM to STEAM Council representative of artists, designers, education and business leaders, and Federal agencies in order to facilitate a comprehensive approach to incorporate art and design into the Federal STEM programs.

Some sentiments from youths about STEM from
"STEM holds the key to changing the world for the better" - Kensen Shi, 17, A&M Consolidated High School, TX
"STEM provides a link between learning and doing, tying knowledge to experimentation and real-world problems" - Adam Bowman, 17, Montgomery Bell Academy, TN
"Pursuing STEM at any age allows you to discover and answer fundamental questions about the universe, from creating frisbee shooting robots to studying the causes behind cancer" - Lillian Chin, 18, The Westminster Schools, GA
"STEM is cool because it provides opportunities to develop new technologies to improve the quality of life" - Kelly Zhang, 17, College Preparatory School, CA
What benefits can you think of that could emerge from heightened STEM programs? Are you seeing STEM programs in schools near you?