Science and drama.
Two topics, notions and subjects that seem to be so distinct, dissimilar and distant to each other. Almost in opposite paths of knowledge, approach and content.
Science through drama. Could this experiment work?
Science is based in a logical, strict and specific methodology and pretty much a sterilized procedure. Observation, hypothesis, experiments, measurements, failure, success, failure again, (then one more failure) and finally a conclusion. A final outcome. And this outcome must be in agreement with previous science laws and principles. Not that easy.
On the other hand, drama is based on a personal, extremely unique experience of the participant. Yes, definitely there is a sequence of steps that are to be followed from the participant but the final outcome, the path that led to the personal conclusion is experienced as distinctive. No global agreement. No principals. At least profound ones. In drama there is a range of possible interpretations.
But how these two fields can be combined without abolishing their methods and principals? For instance, a very popular practice is to represent with our bodies the atomic theory. But here comes the contradiction. Atoms do not have will. Do not act as humans. By acting as we were atoms, we give a substance to atoms that is not in agreement with science (and science education).
Then how will this marriage work? How can we communicate science through drama and be loyal to science education at the same time?
In our science through drama approach, we do not just describe laws and theorems using our bodies. The participants do not just execute. We do not press participants to see the obvious. We do not press participants to understand the scientific notion.
So what do we do?
Using drama & education techniques, using our body and our mind, our memories and our experiences, we make new ones. We build on old information and experience and we create knowledge and something new that now makes sense.
Sounds like pure drama so far. But wait.
The design and the steps of this science through drama experience lead to a more common agreement. A positive complicity. A parallel story with a scientific background and content. We experience situations that seemingly are pure drama but in their core are related with laws and science notions. Notions such as pressure, or diffusion for example, can be challenging enough and have a science and a drama translation as well. So, we are telling and mainly experiencing a story that is multidimensional. This not only leads to a discussion with a science orientation content, but its steps have similarities with the scientific method.
During a science through drama experience, the participants maintain their commitment to their personal jeopardy in a safe environment. With the instructor’s guidance participants join together the pieces of the puzzle. Participants take the responsibility of their knowledge development and risk their exposure and leave the session with questions that are to be answered by themselves later on. Finally, they observe their participation, the outcomes of the session, their personal “before” and “after”, building their confidence towards science and drama, growing their self awareness.