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STEM vs STEAM: How does “A” make a difference?

Written By Amrita Shenoy


Have you ever thought about mastering science and arts simultaneously? Both of these are driven by curiosity, discovery, the aspiration for knowledge of the world or oneself. Creativity, and where it comes from, is one of the greatest human frontiers, and one over which we have little authority of, this applies in both arts and science.


What is STEM?


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STEM is a term widely used to group the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics.

  • The science in STEM refers to the three major branches of science that includes

  1. Natural sciences, including biology, physics, and chemistry.

  2. Formal sciences, of which include mathematics, logic, and statistics.

  3. Social science such as psychology, sociology, and political science.

  • Technology is techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation.The technology in STEM may be of several kinds like bio-technology, nano-technology, Medical Technology and Architecture Technology.

  • Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other items, including bridges, tunnels, roads, vehicles, and buildings. Engineering can be classified into mechanical, chemical, civil, electrical, computer-engineering and geotechnical.

  • Mathematics and statistics is required in many fields of work, including natural science, engineering, medicine, finance, and the social sciences.

STEM is typically a research and observation-based subject that is mostly used in financial securities, education, medicine, computer technologies.these subjects require Analysis, Attention to detail, Problem-solving, Critical thinking, Communication, Creativity, Leadership and Organization.


What are Arts?


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Arts are a very vast range of human implementation of creative expression, thinking and cultural practices. They border multiple diverse modes of thinking, doing and being, in an extremely broad range of approaches. Prominent examples of arts include architecture, visual arts, literary arts and performing arts. When we group social sciences with humanities and arts, it forms another counterpart acronym called HASS (Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences).


What is STEAM?

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STEAM is the combined study of STEM and arts all at once. STEAM is designed to merge STEM subjects with art subjects into various relevant education curricula. These programs aim to teach students innovation, to think critically, and use engineering or technology in imaginative designs or creative approaches to real-world problems. STEAM adds to STEM by bringing on reasoning and design principles and encouraging creative solutions all while working on the scientific and mathematical bases.



What are the major DIFFERENCES in STEM and STEAM?


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Or, to put it better, how does ‘A’ in STEAM make a difference?


A great deal of creativity is required to make scientific advancements, and art is just as often an expression of scientific knowledge. Consider the science behind mixing colors in the correct proportions or creating perspective in a drawing. These are a perfect mixture of STEM and the arts.


To give a more detailed example, consider the role of a cosmetic scientist. A cosmetic chemist, also called a cosmetic scientist or makeup chemist, needs strong knowledge in chemistry, along with mathematical and technical skills. A cosmetic chemist has to develop and test skin creams, makeup, perfumes and other beauty products. They are likely to work on the research and development of a cosmetic product, which is deeply STEM oriented. Cosmetic sciences specializations include courses in skin and hair care, color theory, and product development all of which come under the STEAM point of discussion.


In conclusion, we can say that the difference lies in the way we approach scientific concepts. Innovative research fully realizes the intersections between the arts, engineering, mathematics, science and technology, and the influence they have on each other. STEM may be the present, but STEAM is the future.