The idea of STEAM has broad appeal. So broad, in fact, that lots of other disciplines seem to want in too.
Check out this list of acronyms. Why does the field of education have so many acronyms?!
STREAM brings in Language Arts in form of “wRiting” or Reading (http://smartregion.org/2011/04/from-stem-to-stream/, http://www.journal-advocate.com/ci_23625741/stem-at-center-stem-steam-and-stream, http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imagine/201103/stem-steam-stream-writing-essential-component-science-education). But weren’t reading and writing essential components of the practice of science anyway? Perhaps they aren’t always included in K12 STEM, but they certainly should be.
Then there’s ST2REAM. ST2REAM includes reading/language arts again, plus thematic instruction (http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/24/09wesson.h32.html). I kind of like the idea of thematic instruction, but I’m concerned that if we add any more angles the science will get diluted. Thematic courses may be a good fit for Interdisciplinary Studies departments.
STEAMIE incorporates “Include Everyone” (http://www.iste.org/store/product?ID=2119). Inclusion is good.
STEMM specifies medicine (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/05/20/tips-for-hiring-stemm-talent-into-government/). Lots of K12 school districts across the United States have STEMM programs, and the federal government seems to be using this term in some cases.
In STEMSS the second (or first?) S stands for Social Studies (http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/stem/stemssprograms.html). Did you know that there’s a society for the social studies of science? http://www.4sonline.org Interesting stuff, and a somewhat novel combination of disciplines.
Let’s not forget STEAM where A=Architecture (http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/ready_setwait_stem_or_is_it_steam) or SEA, which now stands for Science, Economics, and Arts (http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrydoss/2013/09/17/the-innovation-curriculum-stem-steam-or-sea/).
I’ve also seen STEAME where the E stand for Entertainment, but for the life of me I can’t find a reference for it.
This variety of attempts to join other disciplines with STEM reflects a genuine interest in the zeitgeist in the re-integration of knowledge. I suspect that it also reflects the fact that research funds are extremely tight all over – if funding isn’t available in your own discipline, maybe you can find it in someone else’s!