Apologies, but this is going to be a long rant to start a discussion. TL;DR: STEM (STEAM), like many forms of government and economics, are great in principle, but terrible when people get involved. At my high school we are required to participate in Professional Learning Communities. This year part of the focus is on our new STEAM initiative. For those that don't know, the A is because the arts (language?, creative?, civic?, where does it stop?) were feeling left out and wanted to be part of the funding target that is STEM. So now we have STEAM (formerly known as school). The focus this year is on collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity (which is how the A justified its way in there I guess). Now those are fine goals to be sure, but not if they come at the expense of the entire point which is to get more science, technology, engineering, and math to our students. Our first activity was to build the cork shooter that is all over the internet. Again, not a bad project. But the focus included absolutely no STEM, just the A in the "imagining" and 20 minutes to slop together glue and popsicle sticks, the idea of which came to all groups simultaneously as they whipped out their smartphones. The same teachers that would have a heart attack if a student did that in class. No mention of how these contraptions work. I bet maybe 5 in the whole faculty could remember what energy transformation is and 2 if we're lucky know about the concept of simple projectile motion. But, like an idiot, I held my tongue. It was pre-planning and my brain hadn't really started yet. Yesterday we had our second meeting. This time we had 30 minutes to figure out how to use the bag of junk we were given to land a plastic army man on a target on the moon. Immediately, all other groups whipped out their cell phones to see how to construct a parachute ... to land on the moon. I made my group use a simplified version of the sky crane from the MSL mission. Being charitable, I started making calculations showing how the impact force of even a 2 m/s decent by parachute being stopped hard (less than a mm stopping distance for our nearly rigid army man on hard floor) would give an avg acceleration of ~200 G's, whereas ours, with a pad at the bottom, even if just dropped full speed from the bleachers without the sky crane would feel around 10 G's. As I was doing this, I was actively stopped by the principle because the physics teacher using math and science (in this STEAM activity) wasn't fair to the other groups. He just wanted to see which parachute came the closest to the target and took the longest to hit the ground because that's what soft is (he was formerly a calculus teacher). So here we come to the problem with STEAM (and STEM has the same problem). The people that are in charge of implementing these programs have no interest it whether or not they actually meet the stated goal. But we are giving our students this idea that they are actively participating in math and science activities. Real STEM activities have to be woven in with actual STEM knowledge which pretty well requires that they be part of a STEM class. But all the higher ups want is for the public to see that we are doing something that can be pulled over their eyes as STEM. This will ultimately devalue STEM and put us right back in the position we are trying to leave. So I'm going to continue to torture my students by making them actually do calculations. I also need to calmly make my point known to the administration, but I need to figure out how to do that tactfully. Am I totally off my rocker on this point?