STEM can be very exciting when it is taught in interesting ways, like using play, movement and experiencing as key motivators. With this vision we embarked on our journey to bring the joy of movement, combined with STEM topics, to schoolkids of different ages. But there can also be another strong motivator to engage with STEM topics and get these more accessible for kids. Innovationsmanufaktur recently visited Steve Cousins of Let’s Circus in England to exploring the blending of STEM and STEAM. The “A” in STEAM here stands for Arts, and as a scientist who is also a circus artist, Steve lives in both worlds. Art and Play are two topics that can enhance every part of learning because they bring motivation through positive reward feedback, allowing experience-based knowledge in associated or later math or physics lessons.
In an experimental approach, Innovationsmanufaktur and Lets Circus developed ideas on how to teach STEM on the Move within Circus Arts e.g. how to find the center of gravity by balancing an object on three sides or what physics lay behind balancing an object in general. We shared a range of play-based games that taught physical skills and got people moving. Through participation, these activities give vivid experiential knowledge of forces, physiology, posture, and biomechanics.
On the last day of our visit, we had the chance to dip into the opportunity to transport STEM Topics in a playful and artful manner directly to a broad audience at Durham Miner’s Gala – a public event with tens of thousands of people. Paired with ‘The ROCK SHOWMAN’S BOOTH’ an interactive exhibition combining visual art, circus, and geology, many hundreds of people were entertained and experienced the topics of geology/rocks and circus including a lot of implicit and explicit STEM lessons.
If I pick up a heavy stone and want to throw it, what kind of importance does the surface texture (friction) have?
How can a heavy object be best accelerated?
What roles do the throwing angle and the starting height play?
Which body shape has the best ability to lift a large, ungrippable globe over the head?
Within these participatory activities and demonstrations, there were lots of other STEM topics to be experienced like Newton’s Laws while cooperative balancing, hoola hooping, or juggling.
It became an entertaining day full of experiences for all participants and spectators, aged young or old.
Lessons learned and developed in England but also in all other countries around STEM on the move are collected and can be found in our STEM on the Move Database with this Link:
You can see more of The Rock Showman’s work here – https://linktr.ee/stevecousins