STEM Programming at Village Theatre
Made possible by The Boeing Company
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) at Village Theatre takes shape as Arts-Integrated STEM programming in order to generate student interest and sustained participation in STEM disciplines. Village Theatre uses hands-on, experiential learning, 21st-century skills development, and social-emotional learning processes. Our goal is to ensure that STEM concepts and education are lifted up and integrated within all aspects of our arts education programs in order to generate increased awareness, interest, and sustained participation in STEM disciplines, particularly by girls and students of color, through a variety of programmatic entry points, as well as opportunities for increasingly advanced hands-on experiential learning and 21st century skill development.
Educators interested in teaching STEM with Village Theatre KIDSTAGE should apply now!
STEM at Village Theatre is part of our mission-based project to “train young people… for career opportunities and enriched lives,” and it is responsive to our local communities’ needs. Up to 50,000 jobs in Washington state are going unfilled due to lack of qualified candidates, the majority of which are in STEM fields. There is an anticipated increase of nearly 9% in STEM occupations by 2028. In addition, studies have shown that Arts-Educational experiences remarkably impact students’ academic, social, and emotional outcomes, so a program like Village Theatre’s that combines STEM disciplines with arts education is ideal.
STEM Program Offerings Include
- “Sneaky STEM” – Village Theatre harnesses the natural curiosity of young people through the theatre arts by offering what we call “Sneaky STEM” lessons, which show students how science and engineering can help solve real-world problems. STEM arts-integrated lessons have been shown to stimulate parts of the brain not otherwise engaged using traditional teaching methods; students who do not otherwise connect to STEM subjects are more likely to engage in learning that is kinesthetic in nature. Learning in the arts requires the ability and willingness to surrender to the unanticipated possibilities of the work as it unfolds. STEM arts-integrated experiences enhance learning by offering a platform to apply knowledge in the real-world using problem solving, discussion, and higher order thinking. Here is an example of a Sneaky STEM curriculum.
- Summer Independent Productions – These productions are the pinnacle of Village Theatre’s STEM programming and provide students the opportunity to employ STEM principles via a design-and-build process for all technical aspects of the production. Student scenic designers and technical directors work with Village Theatre’s Technical Director to undergo a design approval process, put the designs into 3D drafting software (AutoCAD), and distill the scenic designs into plates with specific dimensions, materials lists, to work as a “map” for building each individual scenic element. Student technical directors oversee student carpenters build the sets each summer. Village Theatre’s Master Carpenter may teach one-day welding workshops to student carpenters and props artisans. Student costume designers, lighting designers, sound designers, and properties designers undergo similar design and build processes in their individual areas.
- Technical Theatre Classes and Camps – Offered throughout the year to middle school students, this class features STEM content connected to the Mainstage shows being produced during the season. Students will get an inside look at the whole process of design, from concept to build. Virtual backstage and scenic shop tours will be offered, and students get the opportunity to meet with department heads and designers and learn about the technical careers available in theatre.
- Where Does Your Voice Go? Sound waves, vocal chord vibrations. How far does sound travel and how quickly?
- Project: Design Using materials they already have on hand, students take on costume design and construction challenges each week, and conclude with a “runway” moment to model them for the class. This class was developed during pandemic as a virtual class, and has continued in-person. Fall 2020 Sharing (pilot class) https://youtu.be/IpvIITDZxUo
- Winter 2021 Sharing https://youtu.be/OcadOyFaR_M
- Intro to Tech – scheduled in conjunction with the last show of the Village Theatre Mainstage season, students discover the backstage magic in this camp by getting an exclusive back-stage tour, meeting some of the staff, and seeing the show. Students explore theatrical design and construction and create their own designs.
- Production Design and Tech Practicum – Students discover the science and engineering that create magic on stage. Working with experienced designers, artists, and technical directors, they learn the design and build process for theatre sets, props, costumes, lights, and sound. Then use their knowledge to create their own designs for the Production Camp. Finally, students collaborate with the cast of the Production Camp to produce a full mini-performance by filling technical roles backstage and in the light/sound booth to bring the entire story to life.
The Future of STEM at Village Theatre
- Tech Academy – beginning pilot classes in spring, 2022, students learn hands-on construction skills in props and sets working with Village Theatre staff shop managers.
- Fun With Props
- Scene Shop Build Skill Practicum
- Arts-Integrated STEM Student Matinees & Workshops – Four free performances per show are offered to elementary and middle school students from multiple school districts. These performances coincide with free, in-person workshops at the schools before the students attend the show. Workshop topics will focus on a STEM concept introduced by the show, for example studying the science of aerodynamics – building a kite, and gravity – to discuss Lucy taking away the football in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. This program will launch in our 2022-2023 Season.