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Steam Education: Integrating the Arts into STEM to Create STEAM

Kelley J Rice, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The study was conducted to explore how the arts are integrated into STEM to create STEAM and provide a more holistic approach to education. The study focused on the leadership of administrators and/or leaders in STEAM Academies across the United States and the steps taken to implement the arts throughout the curriculum. The literature suggested that students are not being prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce. In addition to content knowledge, it is imperative that future employees develop the skills of communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical reflection. Arts advocates claim that these soft skills can be taught through art education. Through transdisciplinary approaches such as problem-based learning, students use knowledge from all subject areas to develop solutions to real world problems. This qualitative study consisted of interviews focused on ten PK-12 schools that were designated as STEAM Academies. The schools are located across the United States and are mainly serving metropolitan or urban areas. The study explored the elements of STEAM education in PK-12 schools and the process of integrating the arts into the curriculum. Findings include insights from administrators and include implementation practices, success stories, and financial implications. The study found four major themes pertaining to implementing STEAM with fidelity. These themes include community support, funding, professional development, and problem-based learning. The findings also include three benefits STEAM implementation provides. These benefits include inclusivity, opportunities, and mirroring how the world works.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education finance|Educational evaluation|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Rice, Kelley J, "Steam Education: Integrating the Arts into STEM to Create STEAM" (2020). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI28256780.