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How do Creativity and STEM Overlap?

By Katie Picard

Many changes are being made in the STEM field, or now the newly revised STEAM field. Art is being recognized as a prominent part of the STEAM field and has influenced many students’ lives. Art helps many students express their feelings and creativity. Creativity can refer to all aspects of STEAM. From assembling STEM kit ideas, creating more innovative technology, to solving more complex mathematical problems. Creativity comes into play in all of the aspects of STEAM.

Creativity toolkits used in arts and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are very similar to each other. Fundamentally, both rely on being open to new ideas, employing divergent thinking, and maintaining a sense of flexibility. Creativity through art is important for enriching lives, if for no other reason. But it's also important for strengthening your mind, and it is among the most important factors in increasing learning. Creativity is essential to STEM. Art is about using creativity and imagination to increase the development of STEM's essential skills, as well as to enhance flexibility, adaptability, productivity, responsibility, and innovation - all required skills for a successful career in any field of study.

Scientists use creativity to determine which smaller questions are likely to yield results, imagine possible answers to their questions, and devise ways to test those answers. Although STEM subjects are necessary for scientific and technological progress, without the arts, students can't reach their full potential. This is because art and design subjects give students the freedom to be creative and enjoy the capabilities and potential of STEM. Creativity helps students be able to unblock old patterns or habits of thinking. It allows for non-linear thinking. It also enables empathy and can connect us to ourselves.

Going in a more research-oriented route. A three-part study led by David Crophey has shown researchers surveyed 2,277 undergraduate and graduate students in Germany aged 17 to 37. Of those, 2,147 were in STEM classes and 130 were in art classes. The first part tested the students’ creative self-efficacy, or confidence in their creative abilities, as they agreed or disagreed with statements such as “I am good at coming up with new ideas” and “I have a good imagination.” The second part tested their divergent thinking, as they were asked to generate as many ideas as possible for a given problem such as “how to improve the use of public trains.” In the final part, they were asked to score given solutions to problems on their originality, feasibility, effectiveness, and overall creativity.

Works Cited

“How to Mix STEM Education and Creativity in the Classroom.”, 29 June

Lin, Connie. “STEM Careers Require the Same Kind of Creative Thinking as the Arts, Says

New Research.” Fast Company, 15 Oct. 2020,


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