Creative Arts and Sciences (CASC)

Since 1960, each Newton Public School PTO has had a Creative Arts & Sciences Committee – CASC, 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 several programs to the school each year.  Many of them are teacher favorites that are requested every year, others are new and different. To learn more about the CASC program, visit the NPS website or view this CASC poster.

CASC programs, funded solely by the PTO, are made possible through PTO fundraising. Thank you for you support!

The following programs will be offered at Bigelow in the 2019-2020 school year:

8th grade – Theatre Espresso: “Uprising on King Street: The Boston Massacre”

Fall 2019TBD – Theatre is used to teach students critical thinking skills. Theatre Espresso believes 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.

8th grade – Shakespeare Now!:


7th grade – Tanglewood Marionettes: “Perseus and Medusa”

01/23/2020Tanglewood Marionettes offers a repertoire of classically presented fairy tales and myths presented by highly skilled puppeteers. This masterful production of Perseus and Medusa features beautiful, hand-crafted marionettes, scrolling sets, and enchanting music. Students are taken back in time to the ancient Greek world of gods, goddesses, prophecies and heroes, as they accompany Perseus through personal trials and glorious quests.

7th grade –  New England Aquarium: “Engineering and Erosion” 

Spring 2020 – TBD – This innovative Coastal Engineering Outreach Program from the New England Aquarium challenges students to address the issues of local coastal erosion through the engineering design process, with an emphasis on communication and collaboration. Students work as teams employing engineering design to plan, test and present their solutions to limit the erosion of sand from their own section of simulated sandy coastline. Working in teams, students are given a plexiglass tray filled with water and sand. Along with the tray, they are supplied with rocks, popsicle sticks, sponges, fabric and suction cups, representing what engineers might use to solve a problem. Several solutions are shared with the class following experimentations.

6th grade – Author Greg Mone: “Writing Process”

02/04/2020 – Talk begins with a focus on science and technology journalism before turning to fiction. At the start I review some of the wilder stories I’ve written over the years for magazines like Popular Science and Discover. I stress the importance of becoming an expert in whatever subject you write about, whether it’s brain surgery, flying cars, surfing, or family history. Then I talk the students through the entire process of writing a book, from the initial idea through the planning, the creative writing, the revisions, and the finished work. This talk is forty to fifty minutes long, and designed to entertain, educate, and inspire. I can also condense the entire presentation to 30 minutes, and not merely by talking faster.

Greg Mone. 02/08/2019.

6th grade – Mike Francis‘ Starlab: “Night Skies”

10/17 and 10/18 – Mike Francis is a veteran physical science and physics teacher and long-time lecturer at the Charles Hayden Planetarium at Boston’s Museum of Science. His “Night Skies” program provides students with an unforgettable experience in observational astronomy, by bringing a Starlab — a giant inflatable planetarium dome and projector system — onsite.  Once inside the Starlab, which will be set up in the gym, up to 30 students at a time are guided through a tour of the remarkably realistic night sky, where Mr. Francis expertly points out the planets, stars, and constellations.

All grades – Women in the World of Jazz: “A Tribute to women artists around the world”

03/05/20 – The group Women in World Jazz features world music composed by women artists past and present. From USA Blues and Jazz styles, the group ventures to Chile, Brazil, Japan, Cape Verde and the Middle East to celebrate the diversity and power of creativity. The group’s performance/workshop program is geared towards elementary, middle and high schools. The programs varies, focusing on Black History Month in February, Women international month in March and Jazz month in April. The content is educational and engaging with an audio-visual presentation, incorporating a slide show, visual props, and student participation. Women In World Jazz teach about these pioneer women and their music, and give the students a taste of their cultures. More here.

All grades – CAS Authorfest 2019: Author & Illustrator Visits

11/06/19 – Newton Public Schools’ Creative Arts & Sciences is dedicating November 6, 2019 to recognize and celebrate the importance of books in our children’s lives. We know that students are uniquely inspired when they’re given the opportunity to meet the authors and illustrators of books they’ve read. A wide range of authors and illustrators will be visiting schools across the district during the day to talk about the writing and illustrating process – from idea to published work. Detailed information about the author(s) coming to Bigelow will be shared soon. 

All grades – NASA: Training, Missions and Future (Astronaut Visit)

TBD – NOT CONFIRMED – After watching an exciting, informative, humorous and visually-engaging video, students learn first-hand what it means to train for and experience space flight. A visiting NASA astronaut details what it feels like to launch, dock, operate a robotic arm, launch a satellite and return to Earth. Also discussed is how someone prepares to become an astronaut. Why is studying important? Why is retaining information equally important? How important is the team aspect to space flight? Following the video and talk, students will have time to ask questions.

The following programs happened in 2018-2019:

  • All Grades – MassLEAP: “Louder than a Bomb” 
  • 6th Grade – Author Greg Mone: “How we got here”
  • 6th Grade – Starlab: “Night Skies”
  • 7th Grade – New England Aquarium: “Engineering and Erosion” 
  • 7th Grade – Tanglewood Marionettes: “Perseus and Medusa”
  • 8th Grade – Theatre Expresso: “Uprising on King Street: The Boston Massacre”
  • 8th Grade – Shakespeare Now!: “Power Play”

The following programs happened in 2017-2018:

  • All Grades: New England Percussion Ensemble
  • 6th Grade: Author Greg Mone
  • 6th and 7th Grades: Gabriel Bol Deng’s “The Power of Hope: To Move A Mountain”
  • 7th Grade: Tanglewood Marionettes – “Perseus and Medusa”
  • 8th Grade: Theatre Expresso: “Uprising on King Street: The Boston Massacre”
  • 8th grade: Shakespeare Now! “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”