BREAKING NEWS!!! Planet of the Shapes visited by Harvard Roboticist!!!… (perhaps)

Do NOT Fear this Giant Robot Swarm: They just like to PARTY!!

Last year we produced three episodes of Star Trek using STEM content from grades 3-6.  In our third episode, “Boss Clan: Dangerous Exposure”,  one of the planets created by a third grade class featured geometric shapes that could reform into larger shapes.  When the crew from the USS Boss Clan is exposed to viruses from planet Raphidae Columbiformes (planet Dead Bird), they travel to Planet of the Shapes for help.  The inhabitants of Planet of the Shapes are dance party loving shapes that freeze dance to create more complex shapes.  These shapes can form tools and other machinery helpful to the crew.  Read this NPR article (just click the blue link above) about the Kilobots, watch the episode (link to episode in the scrolling bar at top of blog), and tell us if you think they have visited the dance partying world of Planet of the Shapes!!


Premiere Day.. and we got FAN ART!!!

Episodes will be uploaded shortly.  Full reflections coming soon, but we just couldn’t wait to share this example of fan art produced by a first grader in his afternoon art class after watching the Star Trek episodes this morning.


Here we see a moment on Planet Scrum featuring a unihuman, an evil robot and some toxic waste.

The End is Near….


After months of work it comes down to this picture.

The filming is done.  The waiting begins.  Disaster strikes.  Our World Premier is delayed due to “technical difficulties”.  What do you do with a class ready to see their World Premier??  You costume them up and have some photo fun!

By Catherine Davis Hayes

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion…”

This gallery contains 4 photos.

“Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must first set yourself on fire,” – Fred Shero So reads the signature line of a colleague’s email. Admiral Davis-Hayes and I must wrap up shooting our Star Trek episodes tomorrow and … Continue reading

Pollution Planet Rhythm Composition

Students in Mr. Moffat’s class were asked to create compositions describing planet pollution.  Here is a brief description of their planet from an earlier blogpost:

           Topic: hyper-polluted, radioactive post apocalyptic world populated by robots and mutants

          Land: earthlike but with dark skies, rivers run acid, ruined buildings abound

          Life forms: recognizeable but horribly altered animals, man-eating plants, cyborgs and robots

Students focused on choosing words to describe the landscape of this planet.  They needed to figure out where the accented syllables were in each word.  Then in groups they chose their favorite words, put them into a rhythmic poem, and wrote an 8 measure composition (with some upbeats required by words with the accent on the 2nd syllable!).  Lastly, they performed their composition.  Here is one group’s result:

A Day At The Bus Stop…

This young blogger is a former student of ours–she was in third grade when I started working at Oakland Beach and is currently a high school sophomore. When I ran into her recently, she told me about playing theatre games with our students at the Boys and Girls Club after school. This stunned and delighted me: they could choose any activity they wished, they asked to play theatre games, and she remembered exactly how to run them. As a teaching artist, I am deeply committed to expanding my students’ views of themselves and the world. We invent fabulous, ridiculous things together, but sometimes I wonder what will stick with them. I question myself constantly, especially when in the final, difficult throes of completing a large project.

And here, validating the work, is a young woman using something she learned from me at her first job.

Brighter Futures Starting At The Darkest Hours

There’s been some great progress here. We’ve brought new outlooks to these kids and they’re so happy with it. With my 4-6 grade dance class we decided to take one day in between performances and get to know each other better because we had taken in five new students after our outrageously glittery Christmas Showcase, Twas The Night Before Dance Class. As we ready for our final performance, I knew that mostly everyone was working to their full potential with the choreography that I came up with in about six hours time. We got together and sat in a circle, I asked them what they know about each other, and sure they see some of these people every day at school, but some of them don’t, I later asked them what they knew about each other, a lot of them… just a name. I didn’t want that. I grabbed…

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Pop culture collision!


Here is Sadie, our Dr. Radiation (purple wig) who has completed shooting her initial establishing shots in her episode.  Today she was absent and we had critical scenes to shoot and no time to reschedule.  What to do!!!???? …..Well,  if Dr. Who can regenerate, then why not Dr. Radiation??

IMG_1548Meet the second Dr.

Ultimately we ran out of time and Joe did not get to debut as Dr. Radiation and we all hope Sadie returns tomorrow ready to ROCK!…but Joe is ready to assume the role.

Rabies Rhythm Composition

From planet dead bird comes this rhythm composition using words to describe rabies.  Students brainstormed words, figured out rhythms, and composed in groups.  The big challenge with this project was figuring out the rhythms for words with 3 or more syllables!

Here is the first try from this group on making an audio-recording of their composition:

Qapla! – On The Media

Qapla! – On The Media.

NPR’s “On the Media” traces the evolution of Star Trek from the original series through the current film and into fan fiction….which our education project kinda sorta is.  Click the link above or any of the photos to listen.

Star Trek Then

Star Trek Now