What is STEAM+?

To develop a complete mind: Study the science of art; Study the art of science. Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.
Leonardo da Vinci

DMUSD children experience extraordinary learning opportunities that advance students’ thinking through stimulating engagement in the educational program. DMUSD STEAM+ environments are alive with standards-based learning encounters that teach our children to think, innovate, create. Through purposeful lessons and units of study based on clear learning targets and objectives, our students have opportunities that challenge their thinking and require them to apply what they have learned.

Today’s students must possess certain knowledge and skills to thrive. These essential skills define what students need in order to realize their potential, to be innovative global thinkers, and to be poised for success in their chosen careers. Students must be comfortable taking risks, adept at collaboration, confident in the face of significant challenges, and skilled at carving out unique solutions.

In Del Mar Union, STEAM+ provides robust and engaging opportunities for students to experience an interdisciplinary approach to learning. Purposeful learning occurs around clear concepts that require students to think critically and explore solutions to real-world problems. We are preparing our students for the future! Dynamic learning environments support strategic thinking, innovation, and collaboration. These practices promote deep understanding and sustain a lifetime of inquiry. Students who are prepared for their future must be able to connect experiences from a variety of disciplines and think about problems through a new lens. Science and engineering concepts fuse together with technology and art! Physical education and music collide in ways never before imagined.

Support for STEAM+ reflects the Del Mar Union School District commitment to the education and development of the whole child.  We are in relentless pursuit of creating experiences where every student has opportunities to develop their individuality and learn to communicate their thinking while gaining an understanding of the world around them.

Every school in the Del Mar Union School District is fortunate to have exceptional staff supporting STEAM+ as a result of community support and a strong partnership with the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation (DMSEF). Our commitment to providing the highest quality education is one reason the schools in the Del Mar Union School District are ranked among the highest in the state.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.
Albert Einstein

Through guided inquiry projects, creativity takes flight in every classroom and across all STEAM+ specialty classes. Students are encouraged to take risks and learn from each experience. Thinking creatively, students transfer ways of solving problems between seemingly unrelated situations, examining each angle with a fresh perspective. Students embrace challenge and develop original thinking into imaginative and innovative results. Students’ unquenchable appetite for discovery is fueled by their passion for learning.

Teach children what to think and you limit them to your ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited.
Sandra Parks

STEAM+ highlights and promotes the value of collective and individual thinking. Students actively question, observe, make connections, interpret information, and reason! Thinking is visible, encouraged, and celebrated in every classroom. As curious learners, students engage in the process of gathering evidence to support reasoned thinking and explore new ideas. Through opportunities to reason and think critically, students develop their own understanding of concepts and ideas.

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

A collaborative culture among students and educators is one of the reasons STEAM+ thrives in our classrooms. Learning comes alive when students have opportunities to interact, collaborate around common ideas, and create together. Through collaboration, tapestries of diverse thought are woven together, informing next steps, solutions and often, further inquiry. Together, we explore, discuss and ignite one another’s thinking.

If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.
Jim Rohn

The art of communication is threaded throughout each day in every classroom and STEAM+ discipline. Students explain their thinking, provide evidence, and make connections through reading, writing, speaking and listening. Classroom structures stimulate energizing student conversations that mature and skillfully develop in a culture supported by classroom teachers and specialists. Hands fly across a keyboard composing, explaining, crafting, creating. An author finds voice. An audience listens. Learning comes to life!

STEAM+ Subjects


If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
Emile Zola

The arts teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer.

The arts help children learn to say what cannot be said. When children are invited to disclose what a work of art helps them feel, they must reach into their poetic capacities to find the words that will do the job.

Through STEAM+, specialists in art expose students to a variety of visual arts mediums, including watercolor, tempera, and acrylic painting, printmaking, fiber arts, ceramics, pastels, chalk, scratch art, papier–mâché, wire sculpture, wood sculpture, found object assemblage, collage, and SO much more! While specific techniques for working with each medium are taught, students are encouraged to think outside of the box, and to look for unique perspectives and solutions that integrate concepts and principles across disciplines such as science and engineering.

While everyone enjoys the final ‘”roduct” of a great piece of art, the real learning takes place during the process.  Discoveries are made, problems are solved, confidence is built . . . and artists are born!


Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.

Scientific research shows music study helps young minds develop. Music is a basic building block of intelligence and playing music develops critical neural connections. DMUSD music specialists design lessons that reinforce collaboration, communication skills, critical thinking, creativity and self-discipline. At the core of STEAM+, these qualities are essential to students’ development as a 21st century learner and promote success across every curricular area.

Learning music develops spatial IQ, which helps students access complex math processes because the same parts of the brain used in processing math are strengthened through practice in music. For example, students who take music in middle school score significantly higher on algebra assessments in ninth grade than their non-music counterparts, as their brains are already accustomed to performing the processes used in complex math (Helmrich, 2010).

Most importantly, music is joyful and provides an opportunity for expression unlike any other. Students have the opportunity to shine through individual and group performances, cultivate talents, and develop an appreciation for another of the fine arts.

Physical Education

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
John F. Kennedy

Our physical education program promotes an understanding and appreciation for the benefits of physical activity, healthy habits, and positive choices. It instills a love for physical activity that will last a lifetime. Through athletic skills-based lessons, games, fitness, and cooperative activities, students learn physical, emotional, and social aspects of life skills crucial to STEAM+ and the development of the whole child.

Physical education develops the students’ motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Physical health allows students to function even better in classrooms. A good cardiovascular system developed from regular exercise promotes excellent blood and oxygen circulation. This means more nutrients circulate throughout the body, which includes the brain. This circulation produces longer attention span during classes allowing longer concentration and absorption.

The health and well-being of every Del Mar student is of the highest priority to our entire community. Our certificated physical education specialists provide an exceptional program that promotes individual success and empowers every student to reach for his or her personal best in every aspect of his or her life.


Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

Anything that is built must first be engineered, or planned out. An engineer is a person who designs and builds complex products, machines, systems, or structures. Engineers want to know how and why things work. Innovation and engineering are threaded throughout STEAM+. Students engage in learning that requires critical thinking and solutions to complex, real-world problems. Applying principles learned in their classrooms and STEAM+ specialties, students build, test, and revise.

STEAM+ learning continues to grow and evolve. In DMUSD, we are moving forward in creating an unparalleled educational experience. Imagine having an engineering specialist to help create even more exceptional experiences for our children. With community support, anything is possible. What does “WOW!” look like for our children?


Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
Carl Sagan

Our science labs offer our young scientists a hands-on opportunity to investigate, explore, think, design, create and test their imagination, beliefs and ideas! Through STEAM+, students engage in real-world problems that require them to apply knowledge and skills from multiple disciplines as part of the learning experience. Students discover the wonders of science and the relationships between scientific principles and the world around them. The inquiry-based approach designed around sound concepts supports critical thinking and exploration.

Hands-on science experiences have the power to spark a student’s natural curiosity, while giving them the tools to think through how they can logically design and test methods to answer questions. Science disciplines the mind and causes the imagination to soar!


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Through the creative and purposeful use of technology, credentialed technology specialists integrate STEAM+ disciplines by designing powerful learning experiences that require students to problem solve, research, investigate and communicate. Artistic expression is nurtured through the use of video, digital photography, coding, and much more! Using a variety of technology tools, students efficiently gather and evaluate information, prompting further inquiry.

As technology is increasingly integrated into students’ daily lives, these ‘digital natives’ need the skills developed through technology to communicate effectively with peers, teachers, colleagues, and employers. As responsible digital citizens, students learn to use technology tools responsibly and ethically. Students’ thoughtful and resourceful use of technology promotes learning and supports their inexhaustible desire to learn more and understand their world! Through the skillful use of technology, matching tool to purpose, the classroom walls fall away and learning reaches across the continent and around the world.

If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.
Thomas Edison

What is the “+” (plus) in STEAM+ ?

Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics are key components of the DMUSD STEAM+ educational experience. These components, along with the focus on physically fit, healthy children and attention to the unique qualities of each school, put the essential “+” into STEAM+. DMUSD schools’ educational programs reflect the desires and character of each individual school community. Language experiences, increased opportunities for mathematics, robotics, performing arts, instrumental band, orchestra, problem solving . . . the possibilities are endless! What does “+” mean to your school? When children, parents, and community members walk through our doors, what inspires us and says, “WOW!” ? Together, we are building the future of education. Help us move from now to “WOW!”

For the answers to more frequently asked questions about STEAM+, please see our list of frequently asked questions.