Students at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School in North East Philadelphia experienced a special performance called, “FMA Live! Forces in Motion,” a show that uses hip-hop music, video and audience participation to explain the basic principles of physics. Fifth graders cheered and bopped along with performers as they were introduced to Isaac Newton’s Laws of Motion.
For 10-year old Jonelle Price, the performance was a fun break from class. She especially enjoyed seeing her classmates and teacher participate in the action. Classmate Kristy Maurath was invited on stage to demonstrate Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion: force = mass x acceleration, by kicking a soccer ball into a goal.
Principal Terry Pearsall-Hargett acknowledged that understanding science can sometimes seem out of reach for some students and she praised the performance’s simple style. “I think they did it in a way that kids really got the message and how those laws apply to everyday life,” she said.
ArtsRising, an initiative of the Philadelphia Education Fund, an organization which aims to increase the quality of education in public schools, received a grant that will bring FMA Live! performances to middle schools in Philadelphia. Videos shown during the performance also demonstrate how the basic principles connect to popular careers in the science.
Ambrose Liu, a coordinator for ArtsRising, applied for the NASA and Honeywell Corporation sponsored grant two years ago and was on hand to record the performance.
“In this education climate with education being in crisis, in challenge … we are trying out best to improve and find opportunities that we can bring to the schools so that we can help and work with the schools to give kids the best opportunities they can get,” said Liu.