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STEAM Steam is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.

A STEAM education provides opportunities for students in grades K through 12 to engage in daily experiences that improve their knowledge of science, math, engineering and art that drives innovation. The philosophy behind STEAM is that subjects cannot and should not be taught in isolation, just as they do not exist in isolation in the workforce.


  • The 1957 launch of Russian satellite Sputnik inspired a generation of innovation in technology and engineering in America.
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created in 1958, supporting innovations that successfully put the first man on the Moon. There was a strong push to prepare students for careers in science and math.
  • In the 1990's the National Science Foundation married science, technology, engineering, and math with the acronym "STEM".
  • Art and Design are seen to be major contributors to innovation therefore there is a movement to include Art to the STEM curriculum.


In 2013, San Diego Unified School District was awarded a federal grant by the Magnet Schools Assistance Program to promote STEAM education in four elementary schools: Thomas Jefferson IB, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Valencia Park Elementary Schools.

Each school was chosen because of their immense potential for growth and ability to promote diversity.

The grant will provide funds over the course of three years to implement STEAM education at each site.

Grant supports include:

  • Adding 2 STEAM resource teachers at each site
  • Inquiry based instruction for students
  • Learning opportunities for students beyond the classroom
  • Providing technology, materials and supplies for students and teachers in support of STEAM
  • Professional development opportunities for staff
  • Marketing & imaging support for each school

Federal grants do not provide funds for transportation.

*Historical facts on STEM & STEAM provided by the Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project sponsored by NASA & Edutopia STEM to STEAM.

Paradigm Shift

"STEAM represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. In essence, we dare our students to be wrong, to try multiple ideas, listen to alternate opinions and create a knowledge base that is applicable to real life as opposed to simply an exam."

Deron Cameron

Former UPES Principal- 1st STEAM Magnet School in US

STEAM Learning

  1. The context is motivating, engaging, and real-world.
  2. Students integrate and apply meaningful and important mathematics and science content.
  3. Teaching methods are inquiry-based and student-centered.
  4. Students engage in solving engineering challenges using an engineering design process.
  5. Teamwork and communications are a major focus.
  6. Arts integrate into the STEAM units through design, creative planning, and artistic presentations.
  7. Technology is used as a tool to support and enhance learning.
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