Many of us have heard about STEM education, but wonder what is STREAM? Think of it as STEM plus—we add religion and the arts in order to educate the whole child. It’s one of the teaching strategies we use here at St. Joseph Catholic School. It’s a more collaborative process which guides students through their learning, and combines subjects that have typically been taught in isolation. This allows students to see the interconnectedness of the subjects and how they relate to each other in order to solve a problem.
So, what might a STREAM lesson look like in one of our St. Joseph Catholic School classrooms? In a primary classroom, students might be learning about simple machines. In order to demonstrate students’ understanding of the concepts, the teacher might give students a variety of materials and ask them to create a machine. Students need to brainstorm an idea, construct the idea, test it out, make the necessary corrections, and then report on their machine. STREAM lessons allow our students to engage with their peers and use their natural talents as they solve real-world problems. Likewise, in a middle school setting STREAM challenges become more rigorous, and we expose students to different career paths in the sciences. This allows for creative exploration of areas such as chemistry, engineering, computing, religion, and graphic design. Overall, STREAM lessons provide our students with interesting challenges to solve while broadening their horizons.