The end of the beginning

It is the end because we closed our project #esxciencia with this last performance in Escola Tàber in Barcelona. But it is also the beginning because we are going to continue spreading science anywhere in the world where our show of clown and science may be requested. We are becoming more proud of our show every day.

A cozy sports hall equipped with a sound and light system would receive us that cold December morning. Escola Tàber had welcomed us.

We enclosed the space, we prepared our more than 70 items, the cameras, we tested the sound and we put our clownish costumes on, so we were ready to start and connect to an audience eager of science. It can be easily noticed!

We had decided, for technical reasons, that this would be the chosen performance to be fully record, in order to make a complete video of our show. Three cameras, an additional light equipment and a field microphone would be the responsibles of recording all the scenes.

You may think that we felt under high pressure with all this audiovisual montage, but it was quite the opposite. Our commitment is always to attending public and science.

Escola Tàber was the first school in hosting us when the project started and it would become the last one in seeing us perform. It was just a coincidence, this only came up for calendar issues. The whole experience with Escola Tàber was complete and fulfilling at all levels.

The year nearly is ended but science still goes on.

We keep in touch because this is #esxciencia.

Mutriku

We came from the cold Mancha to go to the rainy País Vasco, not free of cold.

Spain from end to end. It was initially the south, then the centre and now the north.

Mutriku received us, as always, full of expectation for anything new and innovative. I can remember those teachers attending to our workshop on 10 July and how that surprised us pleasantly.

This time the setting was a great sports centre from which we chose a more cosy and intimate zone for our show.

It was incredible how many teachers got involved and came to see if everything was right or if we needed anything else. In IES Mutriku there is no lack of predisposition and will to do things.

The teens gradually arrived. Do we prefer to perform for pupils or teenagers? Uff, it’s difficult to answer.

Silence!! Music sounds. #esxciencia has taken País Vasco.

There’s very little dialogue in our show #esxciencia. The little we speak we do in spanish and english, but for this performance we learned all the text in euskera. All attendants were amazed for it and all recognized the worth of our gesture.

Our noses were still all blocked up with snot but also the spaces we visited were fulling of science.

Thanks a lot to Mutriku and a lot of science.

Through lands of Castilla

Caudete and Almansa or Almansa and Caudete. These two villages of La Mancha can be found in Albacete province, separated from each other by 35 kilometres. We really wanted to bring them our show #esxciencia because the previous experience with these two schools was very interesting and nice.

We came from our United Kingdom tour greatly satisfied for english public’s acceptation, not as we originally imagined because we thought it would be more difficult to reach them. We came back then to Spain willing to give our all and showing and teaching a lot of science.

On 14 December it was the turn of CEIP Gloria Fuertes in Caudete. I must say that the faculty of this centre is astounding. It’s an incredible team always wanting to do things in the right way.

It was a cold morning, a dark cold as teacher Almansa described it. The chosen place was a multipurpose room. As always the protocol consisted in taking a look to the space and its capacity, in checking the sound equipment, the age of the students… Then we started to stage everything. At our beginnings it all took one and a half hour, but at this point we have enough with 45 minutes.

Music is sounding once more for #esxciencia and let the show begin.

It still surprises us, and this is not false modesty, how girls and boys everywhere we go are able to pick all the science out from our crazy train trip of two clowns.

Next day, friday, it was the turn of CEIP José Lloret in Almansa. The same we have said about the school in Caudete fits in this other centre. Working with these two implicated educative teams was a privilege.

This morning, when we were preparing all our stuff, the local television approached to us. They had heard about our project and our presence in the province. They wanted to talk to us for a while and film some part of the show.

Thank you so much to all of you once again, to all students and teachers. We will never forget how people of La Mancha treated us and how we enjoyed doing what we had come to do, to spread science.

Our clown suitcases were asking us for more adventures so that very afternoon we left to Mutriku.

But this is another story, and another post. 😉

Our international growth

A backpack. All the show of #esxciencia fits in a backpack. We flew from Málaga to Belfast, and from there we would go to Liverpool.

We had previously made some contacts with people from the performing arts in Belfast and a school in Liverpool.

Our first concern was the flight. We didn’t know if they would let us fly with un umbrella. You may think it would be easier to buy a new one at the destination, but it is not that easy. Our special umbrella has galaxies printed on it and plays an important role in our show. It’s hard to find. We have brought it expressly from Croatia. It’s nothing in there…

Our first performance in Belfast was in a circus school, where we felt at home. The attending audience was motley and linked to the performing arts.

I must admit that we were really worried about how an audience so different to a spanish public would receive us. How many times have we not heard about “english humour”? But it only took David coming on the scene to hear their laughter and the show began to flow.

This gave us a lot of energy for the next “gig”. In two days we would visit a center with students with special educative needs and ages between 14 and 17 years old.

When at the end of the performance a teacher comes to tell you that it’s the first time that those teens stay seated and attentive for more than 10 minutes, you feel an indescribable rush. And #esxciencia lasts 40 minutes!!!

When we arrived at Liverpool the thermometer had plummeted. A cold front was sweeping the area and the first cold symptoms came to say hello. One thing was clear, even if we would end up with our noses full of snot, we wouldn’t cancel our show.

Streatham Schools is a place with a very particular phylosophy of education. This center has very few pupils and very limited classes where both young and older children share some activities.

It was a pleasure stepping onto the stage and see the snow falling through the windows while we were disseminating science.

All the school assited to our performance and everyone made questions. In fact, we were answering questions more than an hour, listening to the explanations of Irene. She loves give explanations based on science. Finally, our noses were soaked just as we were. Our noses were full of snot, and we were full of laughter and science.

It was time to get back to Spain.

Caudete and Almansa were waiting for us.

CEIP La Marquesa, Jerez de la Frontera

We had a challenge, two “gigs” in one single morning.
The first one at 10 a.m. and the next one at 12 p.m. A crazy thing that turned out well for a reason, Jerez was the operation centre of the Project, and we had the materials, trips and transport on hand. It gave us the confidence needed to keep to the timelines.
On this occasion we were hosted in CEIP La Marquesa (Jerez de la Frontera) by its headmaster Daniel, who made our work easier all the way.
Although we had performed our show for the first time the day before, this second time was like a new debut for us due to the age of the audience. We had proceeded from an IES to a CEIP.
Andalusian public is a demanding one because they are surrounded by fun and jokes everywhere, but it also appears that they have a great disposition to have fun and discover new things.
As soon as we came on stage, the laughter started and it didn’t stop until the 40th minute.

This helped us to be really connected to our audience through all the show and it allowed us some improvisations that really pleased the public. However, we are never satisfied just with the playful part of #esxciencia, we also want to make sure we have managed to transmit the informative part.

Two events, two sessions, two shows, two moments of laughs and applause, but also two moments of questions, issues and statements about science. This is what we like the most, though we can’t deny we love being clowns, scientific clowns.

We had finalized the second day of our tour so it was time to prepare our suitcases because the next day we flew from Málaga to Belfast. Two new spaces were waiting for us, and for sure, a very different spectators.

Thanks a lot and a lot of Science.

 

Tour Begins, Paterna

After so many workshops, so many rehearsal times, tests and mistakes, after we had analised all the collected information, the release day of our show had finally come.
The sports centre of IES Paterna de la Rivera would be our first stage.
We arrived very early because of the nerves and responsability of our debut in public. Nothing should fail.
We organized the space and prepared all the ingredients #esciencia has. There are more tan 70 elements we have to manage during the 40 minutes of

performance. Nowadays we already have all under control so we can have it all ready in one hour, but being the first day it took us nearly two hours.
We were very excited to start in Paterna. Our connection in the previous workshop with the teachers team was really good, and that gave us confidence. We were wishing to receive their feedback and see the results.

Music went on and curtains were opened. #esxciencia had reached Paterna. We feel the next 40 minutes like they were 4 minutes. It couldn’t had been better and as we had expected, except for one thing. During all our rehearsals we couldn’t make the “balloon trick” work but this time it was perfect. In science as wel as in life, we have to try, try and try again.

150 students of IES Paterna applaused enthusiastically. Then it was time to analise what they had seen. Where was the science in our show? And yes. The audience were reviewing in detail all the science we had been playing with. They had been understood all this crazy train trip in which our show is based. We had got it. Subtly, barely with words, a lot of mimics, playing in clown style, teaching and laughing, we succeed in revealing our science.

We were absolutely satisfied and as the end of a perfect moment, the members of the professorate approached to us and congratulated us for the work well done.
What else could we ask for our debut?
We think we couldn’t ask for better. Next day we had two new performances addressed to elementary students. Would they understand what we had come to show?

Thanks a lot and lot of science.

Final rehearsals

We are only a few days away from the premiere of our little show. With less than a week left and we are finalizing all the little details.

I will not deny it, we are very nervous. There are many illusions put into this project that has taken us to different places of the spanish geography and to meet amazing people.

Last week our heads didn’t stop. We had the typical doubts everyone has before a premiere. Will people like the show? Will it be easy to understand? Will we have chosen the correct format? Are we sure of the costumes and the music?

Last Sunday we rented a room in the facilities of nunArt Guinardó for a penultimate rehearsal. The last one will be next Monday in Jerez, just before the premiere at IES Paterna in Paterna de la Rivera, a small town of Cádiz.

This time we were with Dídac Roger, as an audiovisual professional, and his very nice 5-year-old daughter India (we also wanted children in the audience), as well as our friend, actor and clown Santi Mondragon.

The room was cosy and really charming and we were motivated and eager to perform in front of our small audience. Everything was ready for the start.

For us, more than a rehearsal, it was a premiere, we wanted real reviews and good feedback that would make us improve some aspects.

It was a long day with a lot of hard work behind. Creating a show so different from what it already exists related to science is exciting, but it is also challenging.

Now we are ready. We know we have an original, fun and very educational product.

We know you’re looking forward to seeing photos, but you’ll have to wait a bit. We do not want to reveal our secrets before the premiere. 😉

Next stop Jerez de la Frontera !!!

Do you know why? Because It is for Science (Es X Ciencia)

The house of Arts

We wanted a place outside the cities, a place surrounded by nature and where silence was inspiring to be able to shape the show we already had in mind. It was not easy, but coincidences of fate and magic of Google led us to La Casa de las Artes (The House of Arts) in Alanís.

Alanís is a town of about 1800 inhabitants nestled in the Sierra Norte in Sevilla. It is a typical town from the south of Spain, with its whitewashed houses and balconies full of pots. The town hall of Alanís has a beautiful project called La Casa de las Artes, a house with several rooms, dining room, fully equipped kitchen and all the amenities that a small group of clowns needs to create. In addition to this house, this project puts at the disposal of the companies a hermitage located in the highest part of the town, turned into a scenic stage in order to rehearse with total comfort. Mounting a show in such a magical and charming spot is a real pleasure.

So there we went, Irene Lapuente and David Rubio with our consultant Delia Villalonga.

The first day was dedicated to non-stop talking, eat good and tasty food and to update what each one of us had in mind. Ideas began to flow quickly and our show began to take shape.

The next day we displayed all the material that Irene brought to play with laws of physics and we began to introduce them into the context we had imagined. Still nothing can be revealed. 😉

There were five intense days in which we shared lot of laughs and a lot of work, in a place that was previously unknown to us and now it is already part of the history of Es X Ciencia.

We only have words of thanks for the councilors Loli and Arturo, for the treatment and the interest they showed all the time in our project. Thanks to Alanís City Council for creating La Casa de las Artes, I wish many places had creative spaces like this one.

Basque Country, discovering what the students want

After a few hours of travelling we finally arrived at Matriku, a small town in the Basque Country. There we would spend an intense, productive and funny day with the teaching team of the school, very predisposed to participate in the workshop.

One of the most significant parts of the process, in this school, was that one in which the teachers reflected and debated about the interests of the student. In this case, through the activity of the traffic light,  some ideas emerged, and then the teachers classified them into three groups using post-its of three different colors: the items pointed out in green post-its corresponded to the positive aspects, everything that students like or are interested in; those written in pink post-its talked about the negative aspects, what topics students have no interest in or what is more difficult for them to understand; and finally, in yellow post-its, they had to write ideas about what students are more disinterested and the techniques for which they feel more attracted to learn.

We found that practical projects, team-working and out-of-school trips are a great attraction for the students. Explanations accompanied by real examples or involving a manual work are also valued. Regarding what roses student’s interest, we can find genetics, radioactivity and nuclear power plants, atmosphere and curiosities of science.

As non-curricular aspects that teachers want to work on day to day with students we have: caring for the emotional aspects of the student, the good atmosphere in the classroom, the appreciation of the work well done and making them the focus of the lesson, inviting them to explain a topic or make some corrections.

On the other hand, students perceive as negative aspects the exams and homework, all that entails an effort is still rejected by the students. In the same box we can find theoretical explanations that last more than ten minutes, as well as mathematical formulas, vectors and formulation. These subjects are also the ones that teachers find harder in teaching to the student.

Something interesting and appearing for the first time is the interest in teaching the student how to express himself correctly and properly.

As a conclusion we can also see the absolute indifference for everything related to science. It doesn’t matter if it is through history, videos, outings, contents or trying to make them reason a concept. “… they do not care.”

The most outstanding ideas of Brain Writing were the following:

  • Oral explanation to your classmates.
  • Respect and trust.
  • Real practices.
  • Consistent, simple and realistic schedules agreed with colleagues.
  • The light and its nature.
  • Energy.
  • Laboratory practices: sea urchins.

Passion for experimenting at San José school (Almansa)

Following our route we arrived at Almansa and more specifically at San José School. There we discovered something common among all the centers we visit, the interest that rouses everything related to experiments. In addition, in this center, they like working by projects and live science from experience, outings and manipulating different textures.

What specially caught our attention in this workshop was how passionate they are about animal world and everything related to planets and universe.

Every day we are more sure that uniting science and clown will be a revulsive, using performing arts as means of learning. Teachers and students love storytelling, music and everything that has to do with play and movement. We are on the road.

We found a problem with student behavior, which muddied the work of the teaching staff. The lack of respect for rules, both games and education, the lack of cooperation in their relationships and when it’s time of collecting materials, not keeping silence or disobeying the teacher hinder the educational work.

Being very concrete, we came to the conclusion that students don’t like reading textbooks, they don’t want to know anything about something they can’t see or demonstrate, especially in what has to do with phase changes and matter properties. And of course, the student “hates” examining himself.

Likewise, teachers demand training, they don’t feel safe to face certain issues or the use of new technologies. They confront science without resources and appreciate the existence of Internet.

They are tired of repeating always the same thing, explaining outdated theories and they find difficulties to explain the properties of light, hours, units and machines.

In this section we find a variety of unconnected things that do not affect the education in different subjects.

To mention a few that have attracted our attention, personal hygiene appears as something indifferent to students, computers, norms (here they appear again) and textbooks. They are some examples of things that are not considered transcendental by students in some cases and by teachers in others.

The most outstanding ideas of Brain Writing were the following:

  • More experimental and based on projects working.
  • Using recycling materials.
  • Working plants in a vegetable patch.
  • Machines. Bikes workshop.
  • Healthy cooking in the classroom.
  • The environment as a resource, as a scenario in which to learn.
  • Schools open to the environment, “no fences”.
  • Project: “respect giving example”.
  • Knowledge of different cultures through scientific development of these.
  • Storytelling about science.
  • Workshops of specialists (because we are only teachers): architects, engineers, historians,…