Can STEM Education Incorporate the Arts?

Millions of dollars have been granted to public and private education programs to the teaching of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in the last couple of years. In fact, just this last January an additional $250 million initiative was announced by the Obama Administration to recruit and train more STEM teachers.

Countless educators, politicians and business leaders are thrilled that STEM has surfaced as one of the lead education initiatives. Others are concerned about the amount of attention STEM education is receiving because they fear that the Arts are going to be ignored. Afraid that students will be pushed into independent schools only teaching math and science, many teachers are asking the question, “Can STEM go to STEAM?” They do make some valuable arguments for why this should happen. Arts are necessary educational mechanisms for all students to learn. Students should be encouraged to explore opportunities in music, design and film. In fact, much research has been done to show that student's introduction to arts can alleviate stress. Music for example, produces powerful effects on the brain. It promotes cognitive development, verbal skills and emotion intelligence.

Should Google Lunar X PRIZE incorporate arts into STEM education for youth outreach? My personal opinion about this is that government leaders really need to examine all sides of this argument before making a determination about funding education initiatives in the classroon. However, there is no reason why we can't touch on this idea in the STEM work that we are already doing with the Google Lunar X PRIZE. I believe that if you want our current generation of youth to get excited about science and technology, one way to engage their interest is to be as creative as you can. Integrating some funky music with a fun media presentation twist could stir up a lot of excitement about what we are doing with space entrepreneurism. Some very popular YouTube videos are incorporating this STEAM idea. Check out the band OK GO's Domino video and whiz Japanese Dr. Giy's Dancing Robot video.

In fact, just today, the Google Lunar X PRIZE SELENE team put this very thought into action. Great job!

The Payoff…A few blogs back, I referenced that there is nothing worse than for a kid to have to listen to a boring adult talk about their boring job. What better way to excite these youth than by putting a swanky beat to your scientific designs. Their interest might last more than a nanosecond, and you can say that you are doing your job in increasing positive messages towards STEM careers.

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