As our society grows increasingly technical in nature, and both needs and wants to be more innovative in engineering and science, careers in STEM fields are growing while the number of people entering those fields is not keeping up. This has spurred on the push to find more ways to inspire kids to pursue science and math in school.
Now there is also some call to expand the reach of STEM to include art and design. Some educators are pushing to expand STEM into STEAM -- the "A" standing for "art" -- to give kids even more tools for taking creative ideas and being able to put them into practical forms.
The concept is gaining traction even through such avenues as Sesame Street, which is starting to show how design and science can work together. Given the steady decrease in arts and music education in schools these days, kids are losing more and more of the necessary bridges that link these concepts together. Adding A to STEM won't necessarily replace that, but by increasing support for creativity, it could make STEM fields more appealing to more kids.
Read more about how one middle school educator, Christine Mytko, is changing her classroom to give her STEM students more chances to develop their creative sides well in this article from education writer Jessica Lahey at The Atlantic: STEM Needs a New Letter.