Proudly supported by the SC Arts Commission and the SC SeaGrant Consortium, the Something Very Fishy Musical Theatre Science Outreach STEAM Program brings the ocean to elementary students in upstate South Carolina.
This collaborative effort between Educational Entertainment LLC, Clemson University Department of Biological Sciences, and Temple University Klein College of Media & Communication, pairs a musical theatre production with hands-on science exhibits in a 2-hour field trip event.
Student workbooks in line with SC Academic Standards and Performance Indicators provided free of charge extend students learning into the classroom environment both pre and post field trip.
The apolitical musical theatre production portrays the key challenges faced by our oceans today and touches on all seven Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts (NOAA 2013) especially Principle 6: The ocean and humans are inextricably interconnected. The audience follows Sandy Carson, a young marine biologist conducting coral transplanting research and her arch nemesis Mr. Pidder, a money-hungry amateur fisherman with little regard for the marine environment. Featuring a cast of underwater double-event puppet characters, Something Very Fishy highlights how what we do above the surface impacts life below and what this means for us all.
Following the performance, students embark on an imaginary field trip to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Rotating through science and art themed exhibits, the children meet Clemson University student docents portraying different careers in the STEAM disciplines. From a wildlife photographer to a coral biologist, from a National Park Ranger to a sound booth engineer, from a puppeteer to a marine animal veterinarian; children get a behind the scenes look at how many different careers in the arts and sciences may all work together to help us understand how connected we are to the health of the ocean. The children see demonstrations on how to grow and transplant corals, how diving technologies allow scientists to work and live underwater, and how different marine habitats influence the shape and function of animals through a live marine invertebrate touch tank. The children not only see and hear about marine conservation, they have an opportunity to live it for a day by being a part of the adventure and the solution.
Program Creator & Producer at Educational Entertainment LLC
I am an independent and commissioned songwriter, musician, playwright and founder of Educational Entertainment LLC (USA) and Possum Music (Australia). We create and deliver educational music and musical productions for corporations, schools, community organizations, businesses and individuals in USA and across Australia.
Twice Australia's Children's Songwriter of the Year, my work centers around issues of global environmental, historical and social importance. Most people experience song lyrics they can recall from childhood, and having played piano from age 5, I am passionate about the immense power of learning through music.
I have released 4 independent children's music albums under the stage name 'Kathy Possum' and delivered over 800 collective performances of self-penned musical productions 'Something Very Fishy', 'The Country Life', 'Diggin' History', 'The Magic Circle' and 'Exploring Australia'.
I am very proud of the work I do and strive to contribute to a peaceful and sustainable planet through sharing my gifts with the next generation and their communities.
Dr. Michael Childress
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Clemson University
I am an evolutionary behavioral ecologist studying the impact of climate change and behavioral adaptations in marine animals. My teaching and research focuses on understanding the impact of habitat loss on the conservation of marine communities. I enjoy training graduate students, undergraduate students and teachers in the methods of experimental marine ecology.
At 8 years of age my elementary teacher took our class on a field trip to the aquarium. That was the day I decided to be a marine scientist! I know firsthand how field trips like Something Very Fishy can influence career choices among elementary students and as such, I am thrilled to introduce the ocean to the next generation of marine scientists and stewards of our oceans!
Dr. Meghnna Tallapragada
Assistant Professor at Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication
I have a PhD in Communication from Cornell University, an MS in Communication from North Carolina State University, and a BE in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from CBIT, India. I am passionate about combining my background as an engineer and a strategic science communication scholar. Through research I strive to bring science and technology closer to people.
My work has been published in journals including Science Communication, Public Understanding of Science, Science and Engineering Ethics, Communication Education, and Public Relations Review. As a teacher, I strive to maintain a safe and inclusive space for students so they can develop into creative thinkers who can, not only help solve current public relations dilemmas but also, feel empowered to better their individual selves.
I am excited to be part of the Something Very Fishy assessment process and evidencing how informal learning environments, particularly performing arts can educate students about science.
SVF 2020 Cast and Crew
SVF Clemson Creative Inquiry
Clemson University, Biological Sciences
Members of this creative inquiry team develop the hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, grade-specific experiments, class resources for teachers, and activities that support the Something Very Fishy STEAM Program.
Our diverse group of undergraduates also act as docents at the Something Very Fishy event. By bringing education, biology and environmental science majors and elementary students together, our youngest generation have the opportunity to interact with role models they can both relate to, and aspire to become.