At first glance, the field of engineering, the natural sciences, technology, and mathematics may seem to have little to do with a discussion about arts education. Yet one local organization is changing the way our community educates our students by embracing an attitude of collaboration across these fields in a practical way. 

The Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE) is a leader in developing experiential and engaging STEAM curriculum for elementary and middle school classrooms. Cincinnati-based PIE describes themselves as “a bridge between educators, business, technology and community development partners” that creates “educational programs that boost career readiness, academic achievement, critical thinking and leadership development.” PIE is a supporter and implementer of the STEAM movement which encourages students to integrate the skills learned in an arts setting with those taught in a traditional STEM education. The STEAM movement adds  Arts to the line-up of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and  is a growing topic in the world of arts education and innovation. PIE understands the importance of encouraging creative skills in order to solve problems and develop innovative thinkers.

One real world problem PIE’s students will be tackling starts with a  field trip from the classroom and lacing up a pair of pointe shoes at the Cincinnati Ballet. PIE will be collaborating with the Cincinnati Ballet, Wellington Orthopedic, Bloch Dancewear, Stages of Youth and Cincinnati Public Schools to take on the task of designing an ergonomically better ballet shoe through studying the leg/anatomy, shoe modeling and the relationship of the slipper to a dancer’s technique and movement. 

Commenting on a previous collaboration with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra supported by ArtsWave,  PIE noted that “with 25 percent of PIE partners representing arts and music industries, this STEAM project showed how using the arts in the science and math classroom allows students to become more creative innovators and entrepreneurs.” 

ArtsWave is excited to see what these local students will create during this collaboration between PIE and the Ballet. On a broader scale, ArtsWave is especially interested in how PIE programming develops greater quantitative assessments measuring innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship - 21st century skills highly-prized by businesses concerned about workforce development. By integrating skills learned through the arts along with skills learned through the sciences, technology, engineering, and math the STEAM movement aims to create well rounded graduates who can tackle problems  and create innovative solutions. 

The STEAM movement believes that “Artists and scientists both ask big questions; designers and engineers both provide inspired solutions. Together they are more powerful than apart.” 

ArtsWave is excited to see how PIE uses the mission of the STEAM movement to influence the way our community educates our students. Through collaboration, ArtsWave believes that we can ultimately shape the next generation of creative thinkers and leaders. Feel free to join the conversation and share why encouraging the arts in education is important to you! Tweet using the hashtag #fullSTEAMahead