Outreach that Really Teaches!
A Fusion Science Theater (FST) show uses elements of story to teach age-appropriate science concepts. FST uses demonstrations, prediction, audience participation, modeling, and embedded assessment to produce demonstrable gains in learning, interest, and self-efficacy. The shows target children in grades 1–5 and can be performed by teachers, students, outreach specialists, and museum educators. The Fusion Science Theater outreach model was developed by Holly Walter Kerby, an award-winning chemistry teacher and playwright.
FST performances are engaging, exciting, and fun, and they go beyond the traditional demonstration show in several ways:
- FST uses theater techniques to hold children's attention, inspire interest, model concepts, and reward learning. This cross-disciplinary approach makes FST outreach that really teaches.
- FST is inquiry based. Each show enables children in the audience to investigate a question that motivates them to learn a basic chemical concept. Characters in the show guide and support this inquiry-based, problem-solving process.
- FST is interactive. Children participate through question and answer, voting their predictions, and getting up on stage to play the role of molecules in a dynamic model of the fundamental concept.
- FST includes embedded assessment. Shows are structured to provide assessment that has demonstrated significant learning gains involving concepts such as conductivity, molecular motion, and the relation of atomic-level structure to properties of materials.
Atom in a Solid: children act out the way atoms move.
Will it Light?: children model conductivity in a salt solution.
ICE/FST kits include what you need to plan, rehearse, and present Fusion Science Theater shows. Carefully crafted scripts ensure that FST principles are embodied in each performance. A handbook explains how to set up schedules, memorize dialog, rehearse, and interact effectively with children in the audience. These materials have been used successfully by staff at science centers and by ACS undergraduate members across the country.
FST Kits Available
- Will It Light?
Kit includes script, handbook, CD for $75
A scientist and silent assistant lead this investigation into the nature of conductivity by testing and modeling the flow of electricity through select substances. (25 min)
Concept: Conductivity of pure substances and solutions.
- Two Short Shows—Atoms and Molecules
Kit includes two scripts, handbook, two CDs, pair of Happy/Sad balls for $75
Atom in a Solid: An interactive, kinesthetic dramatization of how atoms move in the solid phase. (6 min)
Concept: Kinetic Molecular Theory.
Bouncemania!: This one-person, street-style show features a “Wrestlemania”-style match between Happy/Sad balls. The audience predicts which contestant will be crowned “The World’s Bounciest Ball.” (12 min)
Concept: Molecular structure determines polymer properties.
Join the "demo revolution"! Launch an outreach program that promotes learning and assessment and is fun for everyone involved. Order your FST kits today through the ICE Online Store.
Fusion Science Theater is a cross-disciplinary organization sponsored by Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin.
Materials were developed with the support of the National Science Foundation.