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Marvel Comic Covers to Promote STEM Careers

A series of Marvel Comics coming in November will feature covers that highlight superheroes engaged in STEM activities… except that, being comic book artists,* they added Art to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. That makes it STEAM.

Marvel heroes are no strangers to science. Characters like Bruce Banner, Peter Parker, Reed Richards and many more all have ties in science as either part-time, or full-time, scientists. Keeping with their science-based roots, Marvel's latest crop of characters are engaging in the science fun as well.

In an attempt to spark interest in math and the sciences amongst readers, Marvel will introduce STEAM variant covers. Each cover will represent one of the themes relating to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. The education-themed Marvel covers will hit stands November 2016.

All but the Engineering cover (featuring Iron Man) can be seen at Popular Science. -via Gamma Squad

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You have to be careful, because STEAM is also used for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Applied Math. In my personal experience, I've seen that variation much more than the version using A for some variation of Arts.

A lot of the companies and people making noise about STEM research are doing so because they need more technical grunt work (or more technical grunt work that is cheaper... there is a bunch hoopla about whether or not an actual shortage exists). I've seen a lot of engineering and science folk who do a very good job lacking or without applying experiences in the arts, and the people hiring couldn't care less about the art experiences either. This varies heavily from job to job, as many STEM job do require ability to communicate well and, to a lesser extent, overlap with other fields. But even then, companies seem to be willing to hire extra people to do the communicating and polishing for the technical staff. I've heard complaints about how a hiring processes for technical people have to look internationally to find someone, while the others are just hired just from the local town.

I'm certainly not against arts education and have seen what it can do for people. But I've also seen how it becomes irrelevant for some jobs, and that leading to some of the practical or financially motivated types to just not care.
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They didn't "add art" because they are comic book artists. STEAM is a common variation. Why? STE(A)M is about creative problem solving. The skills that are proving critical in 21st Century teaching and learning - the skills that are helping people be successful in science, technology, engineering and math, are skills native to arts education. The 'A' isn't included because it's a comic book. The 'A' is included because these five disciplines all grow from one body of skills.

STEAM is commonly used - though not as common as STEM - and it's important to know that it's not an add-on. Arts education can have a powerful, life-long impact on students, most of whom will not become artists. But we're not teaching them to be artists. We're teaching them to become stronger people.
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