2023 from January to May, Getting Excited About Science school assemblies were presented across Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio. Very busy and a great for students, as some of them had not had a live school assembly since the pandemic. The summer saw summer school science shows all summer long including many with libraries, park districts, camps, fairs/festivals and scouts.
Fall and winter saw a live return to stage school assembly showcase for Chicago metro area in Schaumburg. Met many PTO, PTA, Librarians and others. Happy to see everyone and book shows for the 2023-2024 school year. Beginning this fall I will be teaching STEM classes for senior adults at Morton Grove Public Library with 4 monthly classes. The first on starts October 18 and is on electricity.
The thought of school assemblies usually make you stifle a yawn but what if they are pepped up and flavored differently so that one can smell the magic in the air? Well, Chicago School Assemblies are one of a kind that aim to instill the basic concepts of science in a fun way – blending academics and entertainment to just the right degree.
When you enjoy what you learn, it stays with you for ever and that’s what these School Assemblies aim to do- involve students in science, sustain their interest and inspire them to set about conquering one of the most important fields in academics.
Science, by itself, is fascinating but when it is introduced in a formal setting, it boils down to just learning facts and definitions without enjoying its vitality. Steve Belliveau, who has been recognized by professional teaching organizations like the Chicago Tribune and WGN TV, takes the spirit of science to an inspiring level with a general science show that has students asking for more.
Belliveau’s ‘Getting Excited about Science’ program appears to be ideal for school assemblies, especially for elementary and middle school audiences, and has been acknowledged by the Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago) and Argonne National labs.
You’d think that someone with a university degree in engineering would be staid and professional in his shows; on the contrary, Belliveau has been reducing difficult and hard to understand aspects of science into simple down to earth visible examples that not only make a dent even in the most dull-witted student
but captivate teachers too. Students go on a journey of discovery and begin to think for themselves.
Typically, when students read about air and water pressure or about magnetic and electric fields, they learn by rote, but they can recollect and remember what they’ve read better if they experience these things first-hand. That’s what Belliveau does when he conducts these school assemblies. He uses equipment, music, allows his young audience to participate and drives home easily in minutes what hours of learning fail to do. It’s amazing how children are made aware of the science in the world around them with actual demonstrations that use hovercrafts, exploding balloons and human gyroscopes to name a few. Large, easily seen props are used so that it’s easy for all to see.
The Chicago School Assemblies also offer specific science programs that coordinate well with the school curriculum, and that gives students the added benefit of ‘keeping up with classwork’ as well as steaming ahead. These assemblies have come in for some rave reviews from teachers, parents, educators and even reporters across the Midwest; some of them have even given these assemblies an A+.
Science and math is built into the world around us and there are no contours or boundaries that limit exploration. As Lind (1999) said, “the best way to learn science is to do science.” Students of science can come up with ideas of their own only if their curiosity is stimulated and the Chicago School assemblies appear to be doing a good job on that count.
This week I had a request for my Spooky Science show in January. The teachers, students and PTA just wanted a fun science assembly and looked at what Spooky Science had to offer and asked for it. Science is fun anytime, but Spooky Science does have CO2 smoke bubbles, liquid nitrogen, static electric generators, elephant toothpaste and lots of weird science. It was quite fun to perform and refreshing not to have this in the typical Halloween set-up.