Girl Scouts Builds STEAM! (& We’re Not Talking about Water Vapor!)

Girl Scouts has always encouraged girls’ creative sides. For decades our girls have honed their creativity as they design masterpieces, explore the arts, and build life skills as they earn badges in categories like Artist, Performance, and Craft. The arts are an integral part of our legacy (and our skill-building badges)!

So what does that legacy have to with STEAM? We’re so glad you asked!

What is STEAM?

STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics. With the heightened focus on STEM, many girls (and boys) have looked at STEM skills and careers as a separate path from artistic skills and careers. Choose STEM and head one way, or choose the Arts and go another. But for girls (and boys) to thrive, many educators are recognizing that there are critical skills that are best learned in activities and curriculum that include both.

Hence the idea of STEAM,

“an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, educators, leaders, and learners of the 21st century!” (via Education Closet)

So how can we help girls make the important connection between STEM and the Arts? How can we help them grow into women who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process?

By keeping STEAM in mind as the girls take the lead in earning Girl Scout badges and awards, of course!

Badges and Awards with STEAM

There are quite a few badges that build girls’ skills through activities that incorporate STEAM.  In some, the integration is fairly obvious, like Junior Digital Photographer, Cadette Digital Movie Maker, and Senior Science of Style. For others, you may need to help the girls see the connection.

For example, let’s consider a cooking badge like Junior Simple Meals. Cooking, especially baking, is a chemistry experiment that lets girls swap out ingredients, design new creations, collaborate, and problem solve. The cooking badges and culinary arts in general “are a natural fit for integrating STEM skills like collaboration, inquiry, and logical reasoning with hands’ on experiments and activities that girls love.  Plus you get to eat your experiment at the end. Who doesn’t love that?!

What are some other badges and skills girls learn where you can make a STEAM connection? How about the Junior Musician badge? Music and math are heavily integrated (check out more about this at the American Mathematical Society) and that’s not always a connection girls make for themselves. As Pythagoras said, “There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres.” So let’s help girls make the connection!

And what about Senior Textile Artist? There are so many diverse skills that girls hone as they create with textiles! Don’t see the connection? Check out this post from Putney Designs about how sewing relates to engineering.

Can you think of other badges and awards in Girl Scouts that have a STEAM connection? We bet you can. Keep STEAM in mind as you plan your next Girl Scout activity with your troop. After all, our girls are the future and when we help them build their skills with STEAM activities, we’re helping the next generation of Go-getters, Innovators, Risk-takers, and Leaders thrive!

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