The Circus Arts Conservatory Presents Annual Circus Science Machine for Thousands of Local Students

The Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC) is proud to announce the return of the Circus Science Machine, hosted in the Sailor Circus Arena, from January 18-19, 2018. The Machine, a giant cause and effect Chain Reaction contraption, is a larger-than-life demonstration of physics, force, mass and acceleration that transforms standard science lessons into an interactive, circus-themed experience!

Twenty-seven Sarasota and Manatee elementary schools – more than 7,000 students – have participated in the program, supporting four productions of Machine by learning the principles of physics and engineering, following Circus Arts Conservatory curriculum, and building their own machines in their classrooms. In addition, the Machine curriculum follows STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) requirements and provides teachers with lesson planning materials, including pre and post-tests, step-by-step guides for students, and informational videos. Seeing their calculations in action instead of on paper (both in the classroom and in the arena), the 5th grade participants are afforded an unprecedented learning experience that brings together theoretical and applied learning.

Once the enormous Machine has been assembled by Circus Teaching Artists and volunteers, various circus performers will become an integral part of it. Essential to the movement of both the machine and the circus acts are the scientific forces of gravity, mass and acceleration that the students have been studying in class.

This program was spearheaded by The Circus Arts Conservatory’s Education Department, who combine the worlds of engineering, physics and circus arts in the classroom. The pilot program was developed in Sarasota and is now also being taught in Manatee County. The CAC hopes to continue the expansion of the lesson being introduced into other neighboring counties as well. The program was also presented in Washington, DC this past summer on the National Mall as part of the 50th Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Over 1 million attendees were exposed to circus science, particularly the Machine , as children from around the world experimented and interacted with building their own Circus Science Machine model.

The CAC’s education department is led by Karen Bell, a professional clown who first performed with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 1986. Bell has been a teaching artist since 2005 and received her teaching training through the Kennedy Center’s Artists as Educators seminars funded through the DANA Foundation.Joining Bell is Robin Eurich, a professional clown, improviser and teacher who has been performing for 42 years. He has been teaching in the classroom for The CAC since 2011.

“This is exciting on so many levels,” said Bell. “A chain reaction machine has never been built on this scale – let alone in a circus environment. We are assembling it in the Sailor Circus Arena and taking advantage of the rigging and circus performers. Part of the challenge to the students was to incorporate circus into the Machine. We’re teaching these children teamwork, perseverance and the valuable experience of failure – they most likely won’t get everything right on the first try but working together and using the principles of physics and engineering, they will eventually get their machine to work.”

Robin Eurich added, “This project teaches collaborative and creative thinking – the heart and soul of the workplace of tomorrow. And we’ve found a way to inspire children to find science compelling and achievable. They’re learning physics! Physics is non-changing – everything starts with physics. Since we are in the circus we think creatively, practically, big and out of the box and we’re teaching the children to think that way as well.”

The Circus Science Machine will be presented to students on January 18 and 19 at 10:30AM. For media inquiries and to schedule interviews, please contact Alyssa Holcomb, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator, by e-mail (Alyssa@CircusArts.org ) or by phone (941.255.9335 ext. 307).
For additional information on the Circus Science Machine, please watch this video (or copy and paste the link below into your web browser): https://youtu.be/_9wHSLM2qzw

To learn more about the scientific concepts used in the Machine (and to see what students view in the classroom),
please visit the link below:


About The Circus Arts Conservatory
The Circus Arts Conservatory, Sarasota is home to world-class performances, excellence in training the circus arts, and
community based education and humor therapy outreach programs. The organization was born from decades of circus history
and today serves as a legacy to those that have set the standards for international circus artistry and athleticism. The Circus
Arts Conservatory is a 501(c)(3) non-profit performing arts educational organization, whose extraordinary mission underscores
its commitment to sharing the entertainment, education and enrichment of the circus arts.

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