PIE and Cincinnati Public Schools Launch Arts and Culture-Inspired STEM Apps
CINCINNATI – (May 21, 2015) what do an art thief and an Olympian have in common? Both are the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) apps created by Cincinnati Public School students with a program facilitated by the Partnership for Innovation in Education (PIE). Students from two Cincinnati Public Schools – Aiken New Tech High School and Pleasant Ridge Montessori (PRM) – will launch Android and Apple apps they designed with help from an international world affairs council and a fine arts community partner.
Aiken New Tech High School launches “Art Heist” at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 22, 2015, at the Taft Museum of Art. “Art Heist” features a police officer trying to stop an art thief from robbing the museum. Students learned about the featured Cincinnati artists, their technique and the history surrounding each painting or genre. It was inspired by classic video games of the early 1980s. The Taft Museum of Art served as an art “mentor” to Aiken students as they developed the STEM case study and app.
Pleasant Ridge Montessori (PRM) School launches ”Spruce up Rio” at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, May 22 at the school. PRM students worked with PIE partner, the Greater Cincinnati World Affairs Council (GCWAC). In “Spruce up Rio,” players race to determine if Rio de Janeiro is ready to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, analyzing the city’s infrastructure, visitor capacity, transportation, and country-wide funding for the global event. The app features ways Rio must prepare the city from an environmental and climate perspective.
Cincinnati-based PIE works with students to develop transformational educational tools to accelerate academic achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. According to the “Straight A” Innovation Fund School District partner, the “experiential” and authentic learning model boosts career readiness and awareness among all students, especially girls and minorities.
“These apps gameify STEM concepts and allow students to develop “work ready” skills found in careers such as project engineers, plant managers, and chief information and marketing officers. They experience the thrill of ‘doing’ and better understand the meaning of their education,” said Mary Welsh Schlueter, CEO for PIE.
This project featured the use of the Socratic Learning Method, which is typically used in graduate and undergraduate medical, law, business and engineering programs.
“What I loved about working with PIE and Aiken students was how proud they were of initiating and developing this project, of becoming experimenters and ‘experts.’ I was delighted we at the Taft could interact with the students,” said Lisa Morrisette, manager of school and docent programs at the Taft Museum of Art.
These projects allowed community leaders like the Taft Museum of Art and the GCWAC to serve as in-classroom mentors as students solved a “real life” simulation, which the organization was facing.
“As an organization focused on building global engagement and cooperation, it was a rewarding experience to help the students at PRM gain a broader worldview and develop a deeper knowledge of another culture,” said Michelle Harpenau, executive director for the GCWAC, a non-profit organization that builds global understanding and promotes international awareness through education, information and the exchange of people and ideas.
In developing these apps, students from Aiken and PRM were asked to analyze information, develop research, utilize technology resources and work together to provide workable solutions. PRM elementary students were asked to analyze Brazil’s GNP and GDP and how its economy would affect the Summer Olympics event. Aiken students were asked to act like artists and mathematicians as they designed optical effects and explored how famous Cincinnati artists used geometrics dimensionality. With the help of Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Applied Informatics, students learned basic coding and developed interactive, digital apps.
“This project gave our students the opportunity to use critical thinking skills like a scientist that will help them in their future careers. Taft and PIE showed our students how art better informs STEM skills. You can’t be a great scientist without using creativity and innovation in your work,” said Lisa Votaw, principal of Aiken New Tech High School.
“Partnering with the GCWAC on this app gave our students the chance to learn more about other cultures and languages in a fun, digital format. They learned why it’s important to analyze a country’s financial health and how it impacts its citizens and their environment. In the end, the students figured out that the children of Brazil aren’t very different from themselves,” said Jenny Mauch, principal for PRM.
Partnership For Innovation In Education (PIE) develops transformational educational tools preparing the 21st century workforce for success in the global marketplace. PIE features first-ever mentoring alliances with education, business and arts organizations, providing hands-on simulations in the K-12 classroom. PIE is a 501c3 nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, awarded the GuideStar Nonprofit “Gold Exchange” Ranking. For more information, visit www.piemedia.org or follow @PIE_Innovation on Twitter.