WhyArts Receives Funding for “Magnificent Machines”

This winter, WhyArts will bring a weeklong multidisciplinary arts and science experience to Alternative Curriculum Program classes at select Omaha Public Schools middle and high schools.

The project, “Magnificent Machines,” will use dance/movement, theatre and visual arts to expose students to basic science concepts while improving their self-confidence and communication skills in a fun learning environment, said WhyArts Director Carolyn Anderson. Two books for youth – “The Most Magnificent Thing” by Ashley Spires and “How Machines Work” by David Macauley – will provide the inspiration for all project activities.

“Our teaching artists will create a set of learning activities that stem from their individual disciplines,” Anderson said. During the first four days of the experience, WhyArts dance/movement and theatre artists will help the students explore levers, gears, wheels and screws/nails. On the fifth day, WhyArts visual artists will help the students create machines from other materials.

This fall, the WhyArts team will meet with Alternative Curriculum Program (ACP) teaching staff at each school to discuss the learning objectives established for each student so the WhyArts activities can be designed to address them. The ACP serves students with cognitive disabilities in grades K-12 who require instruction focused on functional academic, social and vocational training.

The project will conclude in the spring with “Magnificent Machines on Parade,” a special event that showcases the student work.

“Magnificent Machines” is supported by the Jetton Charitable Fund through the Omaha Community Foundation. For more information, contact Anderson at Carolyn.o.anderson@gmail.com.