April 01, 2009

Education Theatre Earns Community Outreach Grant

When the Center for Community Partnerships invited Case Western Reserve University departments and groups seeking charitable funding to apply for its new Community Outreach Program grants, they received dozens of applications. Ten campus affiliates were selected to receive $1,000 each for the 2008-2009 academic year to continue their outreach work in the areas of PreK-12, senior citizens, health, social service, community and economic development, and lifelong learning.

Each of the winning groups will be featured in an ongoing series. Learn more about Education Theatre:

Education Theatre inspires students of all ages to love learning via hands-on, interactive educational demonstrations. Depending on the event, between five to 15 Case Western Reserve students design, prepare and present fun demonstrations to children in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other local school systems.

Their experiments run the gamut from explaining polymers to kindergartners by using "silly putty" to explaining fluorescence by using light bulbs, black light, detergent, dollar bills and glow sticks. The goal is to help children realize that learning can go beyond what is found in school books.

"With education seen as a burden to [some] students, organizations such as Education Theatre can show the joy of learning..." Education Theatre members wrote in their grant application. "By instituting our innovative peer to peer approach—where students learn from other students—we aspire to promote intellectual collaboration, emphasizing the impact of education in real life and solidifying the students' interest and love for learning," they added.

Viral Shah, founder and president, said "this grant will allow us to expand our activities, facilitating us to increase the number of presentations in the community. It will also help us further develop our demonstrations, enabling us to provide small activities that the students can do at home."

The group also has a goal of increasing its own presenters' understanding and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives.

The Education Theatre group plans to use its Community Outreach Program Grant to purchase demonstration and safety supplies, as well as storage bins and safety carriers. The group does not charge fees to the beneficiaries or the school systems.

According to Education Theatre's grant application, the organization is recognized by the university's Undergraduate Student Government, and sustained by its support, along with volunteer contributions. The group's faculty adviser is Michael Kenney, Department of Chemistry. The group has performed demonstrations at the university's annual Science is Fun! Family Day, which also received a Community Outreach Program Grant.

For more information contact Kimyette Finley, 216.368.0521.

Posted by: Kimyette Finley, April 1, 2009 01:44 PM | News Topics: Awards, Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, Students

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