Puppets make science come to life

There were stories about family trips, a basketball game, amusement park rides, camping trips and others created in the name of making science concepts come to life.

This car helped demonstrate forces and vectors in an Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Washington campus, science project. Photo by Kelly Johnson

This car helped demonstrate forces and vectors in an Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Washington campus, science project. Photo by Kelly Johnson

The stories were the brain-child of 450 Anoka Middle School for the Arts, Washington campus, sixth-graders as part of an assignment designed help them understand how forces are part of daily life.

Science teachers at the school developed “The Art of Puppets and Forces” because the study of forces was an area where students have struggled.

Science teacher Chad Boehlke said at first teachers were concerned about infusing the arts into the lessons, but after further conversation with the theater department, they decided integrating art would be beneficial to students.

It is visual for kids who struggle, Boehlke said.

The “kids who got it were able to take their creativity to another level,” he said.

As part of the project, students worked in groups of four to write a script for a three-minute play where they demonstrate their understanding of balanced forces, unbalanced forces, net force and how forces are involved in everyday lives. Students then created their own puppet characters and force vectors.

The sixth-graders were given two full class periods to create their script and puppets before the classroom presentation May 3.

“Instead of giving students example after example, we thought using puppets and student-created skits would provide students with a much higher level of thinking while developing a deeper understanding for the forces we interact with in everyday life situations,” Boehlke said. “Students will not just be giving a puppet show, rather they will incorporate force vectors, which identify the amount and direction of the forces, within their skit.”

Kelly Johnson is at kelly.johnson@ecm-inc.com


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