On January 4th Dramakinetics began one of our most challenging and exciting programs. We have teamed up with a local chemistry teacher and are using drama to teach a unit in stoichiometry to four classes of 11th and 12th graders. Stoichiometry is a section of chemistry that involves using relationships between reactants and/or products in a chemical reaction to determine desired quantitative data. It sounds overwhelming, complicated, and not related to theater in the slightest, however we are all learning that is not true.
With the creativity of our staff and the support of the classroom teacher we have been able to create activities that support their classroom learning as well as introduce them to the performing arts. For a final performance the classes will all work on a script and create a video of their performance with the help of the journalism class. The scripts are created by the Dramakinetics teachers after the students create the story in class. Our teachers guide the students through improvised scenes that are laid out by word problems they encounter in their unit. Their first scene was about a tanker truck that crashed and spilled the sulfuric acid it was carrying, the authorities that are on the scene have to corral witnesses, and figure out what spilled and how to clean it up. In the scene, created by the students, you see the action of the accident and the events following it, then with the help of a chemist the emergency personnel are updated on how to neutralize the acid and how much of the reactant is necessary for the chemical reaction to occur. The students complete the questions with their teacher before hand and work with our teachers to build the scene, recreate the solving of the appropriate equations, and work out the problems presented by the script.
This program has been made possible by the Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, and the success of our program is already evident. The students are responding very positively to the program, they are enjoying the theater aspect of the class and constantly expressing their surprise at how it is aiding their understanding of chemistry. We are excited to see how the next five classes go!