Whether you’re more familiar with the old-school STEM or new-school STEAM learning, no one in education is going to argue that Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math are critical building blocks for the next generation.
That’s why the Chicago Public Library Foundation has brought back STEAM-Powered Saturdays as a spring learning series dedicated 3-11 year olds and their families to explore through books, hands-on activities, and active learning experiences.
Why the emphasis on STEM?
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while others are growing at 9.8%. The 10 fastest growing occupations in the United States are STEM-based. The only problem? Our next generation of leaders, thinkers and workforce disruptors aren’t interested – or at least not enough to meet the demand. Sadly, despite this tremendous growth, the Department of Education reports that only 16% of high school seniors are interested in pursuing STEM careers.
The ‘A’ in STEAM?
In case you’re not up on the changes in STEM vs. STEAM education, the addition of the ‘A’ has been a long standing consideration. Perhaps noted best by the photographer, Charles Nègre, “Where science ends, art begins.” It’s true. Where science and technology has taken us over the past century, art and design have been their close companions. Try to think of Steve Jobs or Elon Musk without their artistic sensibilities. Or Santiago Calatrava or Lin-Manuel Miranda without their foundation in math and science. It’s just not possible. Each of their skill sets were made stronger by the marriage of these five disciplines. Which is exactly why donors to the Chicago Public Library Foundation are proud to support hands-on learning at Chicago Public Library with programs like STEAM-Powered Saturday, ScienceConnections, and a the integration of STEAM into other beloved CPL programs like the Summer Leaning Challenge.
Activities are free to the public – and supported by individual and corporate sponsors dedicated to scientific innovation. We thank our friends at Peoples Gas for their generous funding of this year’s STEAM-Powered Saturday and ScienceConnections programs.
With this amazing support, we are excited to share that the 100 free ScienceConnections events slated this year will serve an estimated 15,000 Chicagoland children and their caregivers. Which to us, begs the question: who’s our next Elon Musk?
To learn more about STEAM-Powered Saturday and other STEAM-related activities this summer, be sure to follow us on Facebook or Instagram! For more information on the evolution of STEM to STEAM, visit www.stemtosteam.org. Support STEAM learning at Chicago Public Library by making a gift of any amount here.