Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Taking Climate Theater to the Schools

Many people have commented that we should perform our climate change theater in schools. With our next show coming up on June 13, 6pm, at the Labyrinth Bookstore in Princeton, I made a solo journey to Littlebrook Elementary in Princeton to perform CO2--We're an It for 4th and 5th graders during Science Day. Six classes came through for 20 minutes each, enough time to discuss climate change, then perform for them as a carbon dioxide molecule. Aiding the discussion were a few props: a collection of C's, O's and H's, and an exhaust pipe. Together, we found names for things like H2O and CH4 and CO2, and talked about how even good things can be trouble if there's too much of them, whether it be water in a basement or too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Next time they look at a car, they may remember how closed windows create a greenhouse effect. They may notice the exhaust pipe tucked underneath, and think about how the invisible gases coming out of it are transforming the world they will live in this century.

Those ten minutes of discussion were aimed at assisting in their understanding the playfully serious theater sketch that followed, in which CO2 tells the story of how a tiny, invisible, odorless, wonderful and seemingly harmless molecule is, through our doing, turning "the skies and seas into eternal enemies."

Science Day at Littlebrook, by the way, is an extraordinary event, organized by parents Jenny Ludmer and Molly Jones, along with science teacher Martha Friend.