Laying Down the Foundation: STEM, STEAM, and STREAM: What is it?
Children often have different interests from one another. Some may take interest in sports, some in cooking or baking, and some in collecting objects like buttons or coins. Occasionally, parents may take notice that their children are taking an interest in school, or more specifically, what they learn from school. However, with differing subjects, children will usually favor some subjects above the others because of the level of understanding they have in those specific subjects. For some, they may have an easier time understanding classes focused more on creativity and open-mindedness, like English and art, while others may have an easier time with more structured and logical classes like math and science.
For those who take more of an interest toward math and science-like subjects, as a parent, you may wonder if there is any way you can help your children better themselves and encourage them not just to do well in school, but to have them excel and take more of an interest in it. For parents wanting to help their children to stay interested and passionate about these subjects, they can continue to keep their children interested by finding the right programs for them outside of the classrooms.
When some think of math and science programs, what usually comes to mind first is the idea of STEM programs, and while most people may have heard of STEM before, some may not know what exactly it is or how it functions.
STEM is an acronym for the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, and rather than teaching solely through lectures, it instead has students learn through real-world applications of the subjects. Instead of having your children sit and listen to a teacher talk at them about these subjects, STEM offers them a more hands-on experience. Instead of simply learning about plants by looking at pictures in a book, STEM programs have students grow their own plants to see the results, or instead of learning about building different items, STEM allows students to build their own creations. With these projects, STEM teaches children with hands-on experiences for both a learning experience but also for a possible career later in their lives if the program keeps them interested enough.
While many have heard of STEM, a program that some people may not have heard of is the STEAM program. While STEM focuses only on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEAM adds to the program by including Art into the curriculum and allowing students to learn about these subjects through a more creative way. By using art as a way for children to learn more about the STEM subjects, students can create models rather than just learn about the subject. Think about a model volcano that you often see in many science fairs. Rather than simply reading about volcanoes, children can combine both science and art to create their own.
Going further beyond both STEM and STEAM curriculums, STREAM programs also includes reading and writing as a way for students to learn about STEM subjects along with the arts of STEAM curriculums. With STREAM, writing and reading is incorporated and students can use critical thinking and problem solving, and be able to think more outside of the box with their projects.
Now that you know more about STEM, STEAM, and STREAM, the next question would be how you can encourage your already interested children more. While there are many at-home projects that parents can work on with their children, Baton Rouge also offers different camps and programs for children who may have taken an interest in STEM subjects.
If your children have a specific interest, LSU and BRCC offer summer camps that focus on the specific subjects of STEM. If your child is in 6th to 9th grade and has a passion for computers, they could attend the Py-FUN Programming Summer Camp where they will learn about the basics of the Python programming language and interact with computer coding.
If your child is in the 9th to 12th grade and is interested in the field of energy, they can attend the Baton Rouge Entergy Venture Camp where they will not only learn about energy development, but also get hands-on experience from the industry, along with performing their own labs to see just how energy works.
Interested in video games? There’s a camp for that, too. Gamecrash-Adventures in Game Design Summer Camp has students from 7th to 12th grade learn how to create video games from the ground up. If your child has an interest in such hands-on learning, information on these camps, along with other camps hosted by LSU and BRCC can be found at lastem.regents.la.gov under the student resources tab for Students & Parents.
If you’re looking for even more activities and events, there are plenty of at-home projects and resources online.
Foundation for EBR Schools
■ virtual-lasm.org/camp ■