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John-in-KC

The Buzzword is A'Changin'...

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You knew it as STEM.

Science

Technology

Engineering

Mathematics

 

 

Well, the buzzword is changing.  Caught this from a professor of physics at Marian University, Indianapolis, today.  She caught it from The Planetary Society:

 

We're Building the STEAM Team

 

Science

Technology

Engineering

Arts

Mathematics

 

I don't know how long it will be before Scouting catches up, but the day is coming...

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because, after all, we want all those art majors out there to feel wanted......

 

But now how about those poor poor english majors? (or are they now called Language Arts or some some such thing?)

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I guess it makes sense.

 

Many vocations are a blend of art and science.

 

But I think STEM/STEAM will remain a small part of the BSA, and not the huge draw National envisions it to be.   High in PR value, low in actual numbers signing up.

 

Outdoor adventure will remain the BSA's number 1 activity.    For those who like STEM and outdoor adventure, check out the STEM expeditions at Philmont.   The best of both.

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Yep, this has been part of the discussion nearly as soon as the acronym was rolled out.

I once joked that the phys ed folks should join the artists insist on recreation, making it STREAM.

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I first saw STEAM rather than STEM about a year ago. I understand what they are trying to do by joining the two, but I am not sure it really works. And I have nothing against art. I minored in Art History oh those many years ago. (In retrospect, I guess it was partly a way to get around the fact that they wouldn't let me minor in History, because it was in the same "category" as Political Science, which was my major. And if you really got into Art History, which I did, there was at least as much history as art involved.)

 

That's off topic, but it seems to me there is barely a topic here to begin with. :)

Edited by NJCubScouter

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It's been around a few years. Qwazse's idea isn't a bad one but after dealing with these adventures in acronyms I'd much prefer something that works with SCREAM. As for topic, I think that if BSA makes a further modification to its program (as it seems wont to do), it would be a relevant topic.

And NJCubScouter, when you consider the foundations of geometry, or Mandelbrot fractals, or really, many other examples where science and art intersect (there was this guy, Leonardo), the relationship will seem much more natural.

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I was thinking crafts could replace technology... kinda the same thing anyway.

 

Science

Crafts

Running or maybe Reading

Engineering

Arts

Mathematics

Inovation or maybe Inventing

Nature for the Boy Scouts

Gaming for the couch potatoes.

 

Here it is screaming at cha!

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And NJCubScouter, when you consider the foundations of geometry, or Mandelbrot fractals, or really, many other examples where science and art intersect (there was this guy, Leonardo), the relationship will seem much more natural.

Yeah, yeah. :) I know about Leonardo. I also know about Descartes, who combined science/math with philosophy. So are we going to add philosophy in there too? And economics is traditionally referred to as the "dismal science". So what are we up to now, SATMEEP?

 

My point, if there is one, is that ultimately, everything connects up with everything else, but if you are going to make an effort to focus on improving and promoting education in a particular area, you need to divide things up a little, even if the boundaries between the subjects may not be so neat and clean. I think STEM stands on its own as one focus and the arts (music, visual and performing arts) stand on their own as a separate focus. Both are very important. I just get concerned that when you get to the point of "STEAM" what you wind up with is a muddle that distracts from getting anything meaningful accomplished.

 

Maybe my attitude is partly a result of my past service as a school board member. Every year we would set, or approve, various goals for improvement of the school district. Most of these goals cost money, real money that people pay through their property taxes. The natural human reaction is to improve everything to perfection, immediately. But the real world doesn't work that way. You have to say, we're going to do this, and do it this much, this year, and in future years we are going to do these other things, this much. This requires dividing things up.

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Begin rant:

 

Why try to compete with school and other programs that are much better staffed?  There are STEM programs galore where I am.  You could do robotics camp taught by a college professor, our High School robotics team is coached by someone with 30 years engineering experience; we have multiple summer camps that teach programing, web design, etc.  So now the program isn't working and we think it is bacause it lacks a focus on the Arts?  

 

This is a case of being everything to everyone and ending up being nothing special for nobody.  BSA needs to focus on what makes it different and what it does best.  The non-BSA day camp my son has gone to for the last 10 years offers STEAM programing and sports.  They tried to offer an outdoor adventure program this year... my son laughed when we asked him if he wanted to do that program, saying "that is way too basic, I've already done that with the Troop" and then "look, they are actually sleeping in dorms -- that's not outdoors!"

 

How about this for a new BSA buzzword:  GO

 

Go

Outdoors

 

As my SM explains it very simply -- Scouts camp.  We are a school for the outdoors.  I'm more than happy to incorporate the study of bugs, trees, plants,dirt, outdoor cooking, etc.  But in my very humble opinion, if you can't do it outside, it doesn't belong in Boy Scouts. When my son tells someone he is a Boy Scout, they ask about camping, hiking and backpacking - "you must go camping a lot?" and not about STEM "wow, a Boy Scout, you must spend a lot of time in the lab or working on a computer?"  

 

End of rant.

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My daughter has been to BWCA, camping enough nights for a MB, but she hates the outdoors.  She only goes to be with me.  She did, however, graduate valedictorian of her class of about 400, won the annual award for Mathematics, studied Engineering at Marquette, does fantastic artwork (I have a painting she painted for me hanging in my living room.)  So the dynamics don't always pan out.  Somethings blend easily, others do not.  Her daughter, on the other hand, likes to come out to Grampa's farm and walk in the woods looking for flowers.   Of course the perennial raspberries and strawberries are coming in so the visits are more frequent.

 

I don't have a problem with S.T.E.M per se, but the loci of the activity is critical.  Does one go into the woods or the laboratory?  The PR pictures seem to emphasize into the laboratory. 

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I struggle with this topic.  My Pack serves three economically disadvantaged schools.  The sad truth is that, at two of them, so much time is spent on the basics (reading & math) that there isn't enough time for STEM.  When Cub Scouts brings in Robotics and Forensics, the kids are at least as excited, if not more, than they are at the prospect of shooting BB Guns and Bow and Arrow (and they are *really* excited about those!).

 

So why do I struggle?  Because I too wonder if it belongs in Scouting.  Exploring?  It would definitely fit there.  I know many Scouters who were involved in Exploring programs that tie directly to their careers today.  But is Exploring really part of Scouting?  Is STEM?  I know these are both very important, but I don't think they are part of the core of the program.  They don't tie back to the Aims.

 

Yet they do good work.  I wonder how much longer before the Boy Scouts of America rebrands BSA to mean something like "Building Strong Adults," at which time Exploring, STEM, and Scouting could be side by side programs that all work toward that goal, but via very different means.  Pull the Game Design and indoor merit badges out of the program and focus on only those that relate to Character Development, Citizenship, Fitness, and the Outdoors (which should be an Aim of Scouting, IMHO).

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Scouting does offer the Learning for Life program that addresses these issues.  It evolved out of the old Exploring program.  They had career, hobby and high adventure posts back in the 70's, 80's and 90's.  They then separated out the career posts into Learning for Life and the hobby/high adventure went Venturing.

 

If there is a natural blending of such concepts, why after 30 years did BSA separate them back apart?  Nothing wrong with S.T.E.M. being a part of the Learning for Life program, but stretching it to match an outdoor program more than a stretch.  Never figured out how outdoor General Interest Post (high adventure) could interact with parallel interests to a Law Post, a Medical Post or a Law Enforcement Post.

 

It was tried and didn't work, why they are bringing it back kinda surprises me.

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.... It was tried and didn't work, why they are bringing it back kinda surprises me.

$urpri$e$ you? Really?

 

Well, first, Explorers never went away. We have a couple posts here, one in a major hospital ... another in law enforcement.

I'm sure that's the case elsewhere. But, there has been real money fronted by grants and foundations with the goal of startnig successful STEM programs. The bottom line is that everyone from janitor to soldier will have to be more tech savvy then ever before to reach economic goals and fend off our sworn enemies. Parents who've had to get retrained multiple times for their jobs know this, and are guiding their kids accordingly.

 

What does scouting have to offer? Well, a broad-based ethical baseline from which to proceed. And, a culture of mobilizing youth in small groups. And, an understanding of outdoor opportunities that inspire youth.

 

So, this is not so much a matter of BSA adopting new teaching goals as it is folks with national objectives adopting BSA to meet those goals.

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As a person with a degree in Fine Art and a Masters in Architecture who wants more Art in education changing STEM to STEAM just seems to dilute the concept is silly. Or dilute is not the proper term...to change the concept into a gaseous state. 

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