Turn STEM to STEAM so arts will create engineers

2014-06-09T00:00:00Z 2014-06-09T10:12:05Z Turn STEM to STEAM so arts will create engineersBy Stuart G. Walesh nwitimes.com
June 09, 2014 12:00 am  • 

John Cain ("Arts make a difference in educating our children," June 1) effectively argues for helping young students participate in the arts. Near the end of his column he expresses concern that the growing priority in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will conflict with and erode the availability of art in curricula.

As a professional engineer, educator and amateur artist, I have learned that participation in visual arts enhances the work of an engineer in two specific ways. First, he or she learns how to see, not just look, literally and metaphorically. Second, the engineer benefits from his or her increased awareness of the special capabilities of the brain's right hemisphere and, as such, is more likely to take a whole-brain approach.

Recently, I encountered the idea of moving away from pitting STEM and art against each other. Instead, combine them by add "A" for art resulting in STEAM. I know that is what we should do for engineering, beginning in K -12, because to engineer means to create, and that requires the whole brain.

- Stuart G. Walesh, Valparaiso

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