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'Rock Your World With STEAM' set for Saturday at Rock Hall, Science Center


This Saturday's 15th annual “Rock Your World With STEAM” family festival is bound to be a marvelous mash-up for the entire community.

“Rock Your World,” a free public event held jointly at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Great Lakes Science Center, is about the arts – that's the A in STEAM, after all. There will be seven stages, featuring jazz bands, choirs and a sneak peek at the upcoming All-City Arts musical "Rent."

True, but it's also about academics, especially science, technology, engineering and math. That's the STEM that gives the event a strong backbone. Students from MC2STEM High School, STEM-oriented elementary schools 
Hannah Gibbons, Orchard, Michael R. White and George Washington Carver and others will set up dozens of displays, including a robotics demo.

Rock Your World With STEAM is also very much about reaching out to the CMSD community, telling families -- and Northeast Ohio -- stories of great things happening in their schools and with their students.

More than 3,000 CMSD students have contributed or will take part in Rock Your World With STEAM, which is part student performance and part student exhibition. It runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday inside and outside the Rock Hall and Science Center.

“Really, it's about the integration, the intersection, of all of those things,” said Tony Sias, director of arts education for the District and co-organizer of the program. “It begins with the integration of the arts and academics, but it includes our families and the public, as well.”

Sias coordinates the event with Tracy Hill, executive director of the District's Office of Family and Community Engagement (FACE), charged with reaching the CMSD community with information about the schools and helping to meet their individual needs.

“We are trying to engage parents and caregivers about the importance of STEM curriculum and the arts,” Hil said. “This is about preparing their students to be global citizens who are ready to compete in the 21st Century economy, which is more technologically based than the world that they grew up in.

Oh, and it will be fun. 
“Absolutely, it will be!” Hill said. “The families will be able to see so many arts and STEM projects and programs, but also the Cleveland Browns Foundation will be on hand to give away summer reading books and backpacks.” The Browns Family Fun Tent will include face painting, games and giveways.

Created in 2002 as an arts festival held at the Rock Hall, the event expanded about three years ago, Sias said, to acknowledge the diversity of a broad-based education in Cleveland schools, and because FACE had been holding an annual outreach event on the same weekend.

“Tracy and I got together and said, 'We really need to partner on this,' ” Sias said. “It was far better to bring it all together than to compete.”

This year, in coordination with the City of Cleveland's Office of Sustainability, the event is focused on the idea of “Zero Waste.”

“We think that speaks equally well to the arts side of things and the STEM side,” Sias said. “We are interested in our students working on exploration, answering the 'what if' and the 'how to' questions.

“Historically, we had often tried to educate in silos, but now we are trying to create access for all kinds of learners and this event is a demonstration and a celebration of that.”

Sias said an example of cross-discipline learning might be a student who struggles with math concepts but is able to access mathematics through the regimen of music.

“All of this allows students to think critically, and that's a very important key,” he said.