ence can gain detailed knowledge. You
can purchase the models from an educational supplier, or find images or video
clips, or design and make something
yourself. You may want to experiment
with incorporating movement into your
show by having the audience participate
via gestures, clapping, standing, or sitting.
For example, you can assign a meaning
to a movement and have the audience
repeat the movement at appropriate
times throughout the show, or you can
ask audience members to come up on
stage and act out the functions of molecules you are describing.
Strive to create demos that entertain AND increase
Get the audience involved
Using movement is one way to get
the audience involved in your demon-
stration. Another is to ask questions
that provoke the audience and spark
debate. “What do you think will hap-
pen if I (or you) do this?” is a good
one. If you have a small group (less
than 30), you may want to provide
your audience members with name
tags so that you can call on specific
people by name for answers. Keep
in mind, however, that soliciting pre-
dictions for the results of an experi-
ment won’t work if you tell them what
will happen beforehand!
Science learning can be fun, but creating that educational experi- ence is far from easy! Fusion Science Theater (FST) is one approach to creating science demo shows that entertain and
teach. FST is a nonprofit group of science educators,
outreach professionals, and others collaborating to
make science more engaging, educational, and inspiring.
FST shows are designed to teach one central concept
using the natural “story arc” of theater to model scien-
The show begins with a question, followed by obser-
vations, experiments (the demos), and data to provide
the story development, and in the show’s climax,
the question is answered. A genre and characters,
such as a game show or three-ring circus, provide a
familiar framework and humor to draw in the audience.
Audience members take part in the show through call-
and-response, answering questions, sing-a-longs, act-it-
outs, and other activities in order to provide a life-size
kinesthetic and visual model.
Another unconventional technique that FST uses is embedded assess-
ment, in which performers give out ballots for audience members to
vote on which hypothesis they believe is correct. It has been demon-
strated that when this approach is used, the audience gains significantly
greater understanding of the topic. Surveys have also shown that audi-
ences find such shows exciting and enjoyable.
FST shows have been developed on a variety of topics, from electricity
to phase changes to combustion. As scripts continue to be developed,
FST is looking for student groups who want to perform FST shows. FST
will provide the training, scripts, and other support. Interested groups
can find more information at www.fusionsciencetheater.org or by check-
ing out the FST Facebook page.
Experiment with formalizing the investigative
process by teaching one central concept with a
series of related demonstrations.