Sections    Thursday September 20th, 2018
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STEM education incorporates comedy, improvisation in BrainSTEM education program


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  • Elaina Verhoff

BrainSTEM 02 4×6

Middle school students across Arizona will once again have the opportunity to learn important scientific and engineering literacy skills while having fun through BrainSTEM, an exciting and engaging educational program for underserved students in Arizona.

The improvisational and sketch comedy based presentation created by the NTC Research Foundation (NTCRF) will be delivering the in-school presentation thanks to a $108,000 grant from the  Arizona Public Service (APS) Foundation.

BrainSTEM is a 45 minute, live theatrical event that introduces four educational STEM points through a series of humorous and informative sketches that reinforce the following educational points:

  • Science is about asking questions
  • Technology involves creation and innovation
  • Engineering involves design and testing
  • Math is used by you every day

In addition to the live performances by professional actor/educators, the program includes student playbooks, teacher guides, classroom posters, and digital games and activities that align with the important concepts outlined in the live shows.

The BrainSTEM program will be presented at 50 middle schools throughout Arizona for hundreds of students and educators per day, reaching over 30,000 individuals during a five-week period starting in February.

The program will visit schools in Buckeye, Camp Verde, Congress, Coolidge, Cottonwood, Dateland, Douglas, El Mirage, Eloy, Flagstaff, Glendale, Globe, Holbrook, Mayer, Paradise, Peoria, Picacho, San Luis, Sedona, Scottsdale, Snowflake, Surprise, Winslow, Yuma and others.

The program, customized to demonstrate APS Foundation’s emphasis on STEM education while aligning with NTCRF’s STEM objectives, is measured both qualitatively and quantitatively through teacher evaluations and detailed metrics.

Arizona students have a low proficiency ranking in STEM subjects in comparison to the rest of the country. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that of the 30 fastest-growing occupations projected through 2016, more than half would require mastery within the STEM subjects, making the Arizona ranking an issue for the future of high paying jobs in the state. BrainSTEM aims to continue the effort toward improvement.