Scifari Festival 2019 - Exploring Science through Stories.
The new educational buzzword “du jour” is STEM. Interestingly the acronym dates back to 2008 when the Bill Gates Foundation donated a sizable amount to the Ohio STEM Learning Network.
Backlash ensued over leaving Arts; so you might see STEAM or even STREAM ( reading) out there!
Now all over the world to enhance curriculum we have STEM - based learning!
So STEM is now a movement with the audacious goal of graduating creators and innovators!
The growth of STEM education has outpaced technology.
Curriculum cannot keep up and the onus of STEM education rests largely on the shoulders of Storytellers like yours truly!
I grew up like many of my generation, interpreting education in a linear fashion!
The goal is to eliminate Doubt and Fear and become a Divergent Thinker! STEAM storytelling does exactly this!
Learning is a tricky concept to define!
Maintaining that childhood curiosity and drive to ask questions and whatever you call Learning / Education will come for FREE!
Start with basics; build curiosity and then explore & grow is the MANTRA of STEAM Storytelling!
I don’t introduce Science; I reintroduce it through STEAM Storytelling.
Encourage 'out of the box' thinking.
"We participate therefore we are!" The Scientists perspective on storytelling.
I started my trajectory as a Storyteller with STEAM stories in 1996, connecting Music and Math. Not surprising as stories are the voice of human curiosity answering itself. How do we begin the journey of unraveling the long line of Truth?
Observe what is happening in a story through visual imagery, predict outcomes on the basis of existing knowledge, evaluate what has taken place from different perspectives, and draw conclusions from the events as a whole.
How does storytelling relate to Science teaching?
By making a link between something already familiar with a new idea. Stories explain the scientific concepts by giving the scientific process a narrative and character. Giving it texture!
Last year at PINKS Festival 2018, I did a STEAM Workshop at Penang Science Cluster. It was for half a day, attended by 30 odd children.
At a recent Art Educator's Conference IADEA in New Delhi, my paper presentation was linking Science to other curriculum areas like Art, Music - Puppets and Rap Songs. By giving the scientific process narrative and characters - using PUPPETS!
Today 24 years later, I have the pleasure of ideating and curating Scifari Festival 2019 with Lubaina Bandookwala, of Peek A Book Children's Literature Festival. Scifari Festival will enable children to uncover mysteries; ask questions; do tests and that's the RECIPE!
To promote Science Literacy and spark CURIOSITY!
It is the first festival of its kind in India! With 15 stellar storytellers coming from across India, Scifari is a one day festival for children aged 4 to 14 years. With sessions for 4 -6 yr olds, 7 -9 yr olds, 10 - 12 yr olds and for 12 yrs and above hands on immersive science workshop.
The venue is Nehru Science Center Mumbai. It is an inclusive festival. With tellers telling stories in Hindi, Marathi and English. We have 300 children registered from different NGO's. The total footfall expected is over 1000 children as the registrations prove!
Scifari 2019 in Mumbai aims to make Science Education, Effective, Engaging and Empowering!
By Usha Venkatraman
Founder and Artistic Director, Mumbai Storytellers Society
The Federation of Asian Storytellers Ltd is a non-profit company incorporated in Singapore in June 2018.