CSMC @maishakKDFusion Science Theater offers four methods workshops to help you learn to use elements and structure of story to teach and communicate.

Find a list of previous workshops here. Evaluation data and comments available upon request.



Using Story to Communicate Science Research

Title: Using the Secrets of Story to Communicate Science

  • Length: 90 minutes
  • Audience: Science Faculty, Graduate and Post-Doc students

Scientists, engineers, and educators are called to explain our research and studies to the public. Unfortunately, this work often involves methods, models, and ways of thinking that can overwhelm the uninitiated. Is there a way to talk about science that will get people to listen, care, and understand? Enter story, the most powerful, efficient form of communication known to humankind. This interactive workshop will explain how and why how story works, and how to use the tools of story to craft effective and compelling science communication. Participants will develop short, short stories based on their own research or science-related interest.

 What participants say about this experience:

“The dissection of how a story is presented was very useful. The information on brain/thought research and how it turns into story made me feel less silly and more informed when using story to explain something.”

“I can’t wait to go home and tell my wife stories about my research and science generally. I think we can use this to tell the public about the science of art.”

“I feel this workshop was extremely beneficial to me, as I can be very shy when it comes to talking about my research or science in general.”

FST Methods Workshops for Educators

Title: Using Secrets of Story to Help You Teach Almost Anything

  • Length: 90 minutes
  • Audience: K14 Educators

Playwrights know how to capture and hold attention, build suspense, and get audiences to grapple with difficult issues and concepts. How do they do it? Can we apply techniques and principles of drama to get our students to engage in and learn the concepts and content of our courses? Come and find out. In this session, chemistry instructor and playwright Holly Walter Kerby will present three techniques extracted from playwriting, and demonstrate their usefulness in getting students (aged 4 to 80) to learn a basic science concept and use it to solve a problem. Participants will then work together to design a lesson that uses these techniques to teach a particularly onerous topic or concept in their discipline or program.

 What participants say about this experience:

“I loved the way you modeled many of the concepts as part of your session. You invited us into the story and set up a story for the class.”

“A valuable, genuine, no pseudo-nonsensical-jargon-laden, presentation. How refreshing! Bravo!”

“Very effective way of rethinking difficult concepts.”

Design Workshop, INTRO

Title: Using Elements of Story to Create Demonstration Shows that Teach Science Concepts

  • Length: 90 minutes
  • Audience: Anyone who uses demonstration shows for informal science education

Demonstration shows are a staple of science outreach, and for good reason. These outreach shows are exciting, entertaining, fun, theatrical, and often spectacular. However, there is mounting evidence that the traditional form of the demo show does not teach science concepts or processes, a fact that has fueled growing interest in new forms of outreach that do. To meet this need, Fusion Science Theater has developed a form of demonstration show that introduces the demo and then challenges the audience to think about and predict the outcome before it happens. This structure note only generates suspense, motivates learning, it also permits the incorporation of assessment within the show to measure concept learning. This session will explain the methods used to redesign a traditional demonstration presentation, and provide time for participants to create crucial sections of a show that uses these methods.

What participants say about this experience:

“I love the idea of explaining concepts before showing the results of the exp. and having kids vote before and after the explanation. What a great way to do super quick totally informal assessment of your explanation, too!”

“This was an excellent model of what it itself is teaching – I think it is very useful for program designers.”

“This session really shed light on what my demos were really about and helped me see that I’m not really getting at the concepts I thought I was presenting.”

Design Workshop, ADVANCED

Title: Using Elements of Story to Refine Demonstration Shows that Teach Science Concepts

  • Length: 1 Day
  • Audience: Anyone who designs performance-based informal science education events

A playwright uses methods to grab your attention, make you care, and get you to watch and learn until the very end. These methods were adapted and used by Fusion Science Theater to design science shows that entertain, engage, and teach science concepts.   In this workshop, participants will learn Fusion Science Theater methods; understand how embedded assessment can motivate learning; learn how to integrate FST methods in a live show; and will work with other participants to create a custom-designed informal science activity or show

What participants say about this experience:

“I loved coming up with our own demos for the different topics that matter for our research since it really made us think about how we can present our research in a way that appeals to the audience and tells a story.”

“[I liked] The fact that we had examples and then piece by piece built a whole demo show in 24 hours.”

“The ’24 prep’ not only was a team building exercises but it fostered creativity.”