Creative Arts and Sciences (CASC) 2011-2012

Creative Arts and Science Committee Update (CASC) 2011-2012

Since 1960, each Newton Public School PTO has had a Creative Arts & Sciences Committee that sponsors visiting programs to enhance students’ education. Presenters typically include award-winning authors, accomplished musicians, artists, scientists, Museum of Science, etc. Programs can be an adjunct to art, English, library, mathematics, music, physical education, science, or social studies curricula. Bigelow’s Creative Arts & Sciences Committee brings about eight programs to the school each year.  Many of them are teacher favorites that are requested every year, others are new and different.

These programs, funded solely by the PTO, are made possible through PTO fundraising. The following have been scheduled for the 2011-2012 year.

November 18, 2011
All Grades: New England Percussion Ensemble

The entire school will be treated to a performance by the unique New England Percussion Ensemble. They are nationally known for their highly energetic, educational and entertaining presentations. In their program, “Language of the Ancients”, the New England Percussion Ensemble will present a multicultural blend of music on percussive instruments from around the globe. With recreations of prehistoric log drums to the electric vibraphone the ensemble reaches across time and continents with a collection of rhythms and instruments from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States. 

November 22, 2011
6th Grade: Museum of Science: Speed Velocity & Acceleration

Students learn to distinguish among speed, velocity, and accelerations. The program focuses on Newton’s Three Laws of Motion and provides excellent demonstrations to teach the concepts. Each demonstration includes student participation. The message throughout is that science is an exploration and that asking questions and posing hypotheses are an integral part of the subject.

December 19, 2011
8th Grade: Theatre Expresso: Uprising on King Street: The Boston Massacre

Theatre is used to teach students critical thinking skills. They believe that student participation is the key to intellectual engagement with history and the concept of justice. In “The Boston Massacre” students play the role of the jury in the trial of British Captain Preston, who was in command on the night when five soldiers clashed with citizens in front of the Customs house. Students watch a reenactment of the events leading up to the Boston Massacre, and then attend the trial, with John Adams as the defense council. Students weigh the conflicting testimony they hear, and then debate whether Preston is innocent or guilty before rendering their verdict.

January 10, 2012
6th Grade Author: Anne Broyles

How is a writer like a detective? What clues do people leave that tell us about their lives? What tools are available for students to do research and how can students use these tools in their own writing? Answers to these questions will be provided in this program about researching facts for the process of writing. Students learn the importance of primary and secondary sources and artifacts. Using her book Priscilla and the Hollyhocks, Ms. Broyles presents her investigation of a young slave girl’s historical trial.

January 12, 2012
8th Grade: Characters Educational Theatre – as Ellen Craft

In 1848 Ellen Craft and her husband made a most remarkable escape from slavery in Georgia to freedom in the North. Rather than travel via the underground railroad, they stayed in the open. Often mistaken for a Caucasian due to her light skin, Ellen disguised herself as a white man while her husband posed as her slave. Mrs. Craft, who arrives in costume and stays in character throughout her visit, retells the story of their escape, their year in Boston, and their subsequent escape to England. During her presentation, students explore and appreciate the meaning and responsibilities of freedom, and understand what it means to be a hero.

January 30, 2012
7th Grade: Tanglewood Marionettes – Perseus and Medusa

Tanglewood Marionettes is a nationally touring marionette theatre, with highly skilled puppeteers and they feature hand-made marionettes. In this performance students take a trip back in time to the ancient world of Greek mythology. Students will follow Perseus through personal trials and glorious quests.

February 8, 2012
8th Grade: Starry Messenger, Galileo

The Starry Messenger is a dramatic adaptation of Galileo’s short treatise Siderius Nuncius. The presenter remains in character as he presents a public lecture on Galileo’s most recent discoveries that he made while using his telescope. Students learn that Galileo Galilei turned his telescope to the heavens to discover mountains and craters on the moon, the four moons of Jupiter and countless stars never seen before. Using only basic mathematics, no calculus, no algebra, Galileo discovered numerous laws of nature. Throughout the presentation students are actively involved in demonstrations. Following the performance, the presenter visits each 8th grade science class for a Q&A.

May 21 and May 24, 2012
7th Grade: Engineers teaching Algebra

The presenter is an engineer with international experience in highway design and transportation planning. This program was designed to help answer students’ questions such as “Why do we have to take Algebra? When are we ever going to use it?” Each 7th grade Math class will enjoy this interactive program that teaches students the practical application of the algebra concepts they are learning. Using a traffic-jammed intersection as a backdrop, students use algebra to improve traffic flow. Standard problem solving techniques are applied throughout the program.

Any questions about Creative Arts and Sciences, please contact Caren Kimball