Geologise Theatre! STEM Through Song

Natalie Meiklejohn
Natalie Meiklejohn
25 Nov 2020
a kid performing a song during a holiday program

Did you catch Roberta Wilkinson and Matthew Kemp aka Geologise Theatre at EduDrone this year? Geologise Theatre write and perform songs and theatre pieces about the science of the Earth, from fossils to climate change!

Missed it? Don’t stress! Each month in the lead up to EduDrone 2021, we’ll be releasing one of our favourite talks from EduDrone 2020! Tune in each month to get your fix of STEM-spiration. We hope this will keep the ideas flowing all the way through until EduDrone 2021!

EduDrone poster of Roberta Wilkinson and Matthew Kemp

All the World’s a Stage

As we move into school holidays, we thought we would share some creative and inspiring ideas for how to blend science and art – perfect for holiday fun! Roberta and Matthew are both PhD students at Oxford University in the department of Earth Sciences. Matthew is a deep Earth seismologist, and Roberta uses drones to map earthquake ruptures that are hundreds or thousands of years old in Central Asia. In their spare time they combine their love of science and art to produce songs and musicals as Geologise Theatre. 

From singing about climate change in their local pub to singing about rocks to student groups, Geologise show us that injecting art into science makes it easier to understand, as well as more fun and memorable.

inside a dinosaur museum

What Killed the Dinosaurs? A Science Musical 

Geologise Theatre’s biggest project so far has been an hour-long musical called ‘What Killed the Dinosaurs?’ for ages 7 and up. The musical revolves around singing science detectives that solved the case of the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

Why does this work so well? At EduDrone, Roberta and Matthew shared their secret to sci-comm success – it’s all about the story. By following a character through a journey, we form emotional connections to them. By linking scientific information to that emotional journey through story structure, it makes it easier to understand and more memorable. This method works particularly well with children. 

an inspirational book surrounded with popular holiday decors

Geologise have a YouTube channel where you can check some of their songs, including:

  • Dinosaur vs. Mammal, Sing Off!

  • Climate Crisis: A musical flyer for a climate change denier

  • Mary Anning: Fossil Hunter Extraordinaire

Geologise Theatre, Take Us There

We first came across Geologise on Twitter where they had posted their contribution to a cool project by Single Shoe Productions called ‘Take Us There’. This project asked people to recreate places that they missed during COVID lockdown by using regular household objects. Geologise cleverly recreated Roberta’s field work in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan using some rocks and dirt from the garden, a mirror, and an origami drone! Check it out the video and the behind-the-scenes of how it was made.

The project is very fun and simple to do, check out Take Us There for more inspiration. We’d love to see some of the projects you create over the school break!

The Power of STE(A)M

Roberta and Matthew at Geologise Theatre show us that art and science don’t have to be separate! Using your imagination to create stories, or even entire fictional worlds (or encouraging your students to do the same) can help get your students excited about science as well as improve their understanding.

At She Maps, we are also big believers in the power of STE(A)M (STEM + Art), as well as storytelling! We recently launched a beautifully illustrated children’s book called Pippa and Dronie, which follows the adventures of a little drone trying to find its place in the world, check out the book here

Do yourself a favour and watch Matthew and Roberta’s full talk from EduDrone 2020 (there’s even a song involved!) And don’t forget to follow Geologise Theatre on YouTube and Twitter.

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