Why STEMS and not STEAM?
Our focus on sustainability as a core value answers the biggest question students have about school: “Why do I need to learn this?”
Esthetics is an integral part of engineering for form and function. The beauty of Fibonacci symmetry is seen in the biomimetics of science. Math is the tool that brings intricacy, subtlety, intensity, balance, and scale to art. Innovations in technology must be functional as well as beautiful, so we include graphic design software in our program. Art is inextricably bound to STEMS as an individual expression for the creator, but art is not an end unto itself in STEMS.
In preparing for the future, we must begin to focus on a sense of direction and purpose that is just as engaging. We must prepare our students for the world they will inherit. Compiling and analyzing data will help them make sense of the world, and provide a factual basis for decision making. STEM disciplines such as coding, CAD, research, and economic forecasting are tools students will need to combat man-made disasters and provide sustainable solutions. Convergence of STEM disciplines and sustainability considerations should be the next wave of STEM education.
Non-toxic chemical engineering, sustainable architecture, protection and maintenance of biological ecosystems, the challenge of burgeoning cities, fiduciary responsibility in finance, and health impacts in recent events illustrate the ethical concerns STEMS must now address. Art makes it possible to respond with expressions of beauty in designing these solutions.
STEM is at the forefront of education, but to what end? A much broader sense of the concept of sustainability is needed. We must look down the corridor of time. Is STEMS education being used to further the aims of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals proposed by the United Nations? These UN goals can also inform program content in our STEMS educational enrichment.
Using STEMS disciplines, we can better deal with the effects of human activity and move towards a more humane treatment of life on earth. Art gives the stamp of beauty on our sustainable creations.