In this project an international group of students implemented STEAM education in three primary schools and investigated its impact on the motivation of the pupils. We found a clear increase in intrinsic motivation for STEAM education in boys, for girls however we could find no significant change in motivation.

An education project by third year students Primary Education | Innovation in education

STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) has been defined in numerous ways. In our project we tried to get inspiration for the STEM activities from the Arts, which we defined as the creative thinking and problem-solving skills by which the pupils had to find various solutions. We investigated several research questions about STEAM, what the requirements are for STEAM education and the motivation of the pupils after a STEAM class. We implemented our project in the 5th and 6th grade in three primary schools. We looked for a difference in increase of motivation between boys and girls.


The research questions are:

  1. What is STEAM?
    1.1: Definition and characteristics
    1.2: What is the difference between STEM and STEAM?
  2. How do we integrate STEAM education in primary schools?
    2.1: Which requirements are needed for STEAM education?
    2.2: Which knowledge, skills and attitudes do the teachers need to implement STEAM education?
  3. How does STEAM motivate students in the primary school?
    3.1: What sort of motivations are there?
    3.2: Is there a difference in increase of motivation between boys and girls after a STEAM lesson?


We started our research by reading different kinds of literature to create our own definition of STEAM. Afterwards we listened to the needs of each school, formulated the research questions of our project and created the activities for each grade. Then we tested the materials in the schools with the children and optimalised the lessons. We also prepared a pre- and post-questionnaire related with the intrinsic motivation of the children. The questionnaire was analysed with statistical software and conclusions were drawn.


After taking part in this project we have seen the importance to have a STEAM lesson well prepared. It is crucial to have an abundance of materials present. Further it is advisable to have more than one teacher present to have a good implementation of the activities. Related with the motivation we found that the intrinsic motivation of boys increased more than that of girls after the STEAM-activities.

Materials for the schools

Paper of activities: sheet with all the required materials, the criteria and all the steps that the student should follow to do the activity.

Engineering book: sheet divided into three parts, one to fill in at the start where they put the criteria and a brainstorm about the activity, one while they are thinking what are they going to do in which they write down the materials and the design and a final part where they reflect on the results and the process of their project.

Notebook for the teacher: paper in which all the activities are specified.

Projectgroep & partners


Laura Galván, Max Hibbert, Jeremy Jones, Caroline Smet, Karolien Stoffels, Sarah Van Nyverseel


Stefan Haesen


Basisschool De Springplank, Broechem | 
Basisschool Sint-Victor, Turnhout | 
Basisschool Pierenbos, Zoersel


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