Innovative Elementary School STEAM Learning Experiences Combine Live Theatre, FIRST® LEGO® League Jr.

by STEMconnector


This is a press release from the NTC Research Foundation

What do a bee, a bear, an ant and a children’s toy have to do with corporations inspiring the next generation of American scientists and engineers?

MINNEAPOLIS – October 25, 2016 | Minneapolis-based nonprofit, NTC Research Foundation, is joining forces with FIRST®LEGO® League Jr. and The National Theatre for Children to launch a first-of-its-kind national program that provides proven STEAM learning experiences for elementary school students. STEAM is the national movement to nurture student interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), while integrating the Arts to foster innovation.

The program, dubbed Bee on the Team (BOTT), is set to launch in early 2017 and aims to reach more than 200,000 students in 500 elementary schools in desperate need of hands-on STEAM enrichment education opportunities – in school, after school and at home. BOTT will feature:

  • Professional actors portraying bees, a bear and an ant in an age-specific live theatrical event. Performed by The National Theatre for Children, the comedy performance kicks off the program and reaches every student in every school.
  • Creation of FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams including a school season pass and coaches for up to 144 students in every school.
  • LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 kits for all teams involved.

“There’s nothing out there like this integrated STEAM experience for students, teachers and families,” stated Ward Eames, chairman of NTC Research Foundation. “BOTT offers elementary school students hands-on, in-class STEAM education experiences combined with after-school community-based FIRST LEGO League Jr. teams, all tied together by the motivational and social norming impact of live educational theatre.”

“We’re excited about this new collaboration with NTC Research Foundation, and the unique STEAM education opportunities we’ll be able to offer to hundreds of thousands of students nationwide,” said Kim Wierman, Director, FIRST LEGO League Jr. “Together, with the support of corporate sponsors, FIRST and NTC Research Foundation will demonstrate that the melding of the arts and STEM provides rich, multi-faceted learning experiences that the whole community can take part in.”

How BOTT works
BOTT starts with a live, theatrical event at each participating school. STEM information is introduced to students through the art of theatre comedy and audience participation.

After the theatrical event pumps up students and teachers to become more involved in STEM topics, BOTT provides each classroom teacher with supplemental STEAM curriculum designed to make elementary science come to life. The unique combination of the theatrical event, classroom-friendly software, and inspiring, standards-based science projects helps build students’ confidence to ask questions, define problems and design their own solutions.

Students then head home to encourage their parents to enroll them in a FIRST LEGO League Jr. team that’s forming in their school. FIRST LEGO League Jr. introduces STEM concepts to kids ages 6-10. Guided by adult coaches, teams explore real-world scientific problems and create posters to illustrate their journey of discovery. They also construct a motorized model of what they learned using LEGO Education Wedo 2.0 kits.

Where do corporations fit in?
The last, and most important, element of BOTT is the corporation.

FIRST is supported by a strong network of national corporations, and educational and professional institutions. In fact, more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies are involved in FIRST.

NTC Research Foundation’s projects are funded by corporate, nonprofit and government agencies seeking to understand the power of live events and enrichment programming in schools as educational catalysts for behavior change. Together, NTC Research Foundation and FIRST are seeking corporate sponsors to bring BOTT to life in 500 schools across the country.

BOTT is so compelling that Eames and Wierman guarantee sponsors will reach 500 schools, 200,000 students and 320,000 parents on behalf of their “Signature” Sponsors. “We’re incredibly confident in our innovative and engaging educational programs that, simply put, if we’re unable to deliver on this guarantee, the sponsor doesn’t pay,” Eames said.

For sponsors interested in learning more about Bee on the Team, NTC Research Foundation will host a webinar at noon CSTon December 6 featuring NTC’s Eames and Mark Giordano, vice president of development at FIRST. To learn more, sign up at: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/rf8kl3boj42z&eom.

About NTC Research Foundation
The NTC Research Foundation (NTCRF) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization with a mission to develop, measure and publish better ways to educate young people on important life skills utilizing a combination of outcome-based educational pedagogy. NRF is based in Minneapolis, but has both national and international program reach. Our research projects are funded by corporate, nonprofit and government agencies seeking to understand the power of educational events and multiplatform curriculum to educate and drive behavior change.

NTCRF introduces health and wellness, financial literacy, STEM-related subjects, character development, energy efficiency, environmental issues and peer-to-peer education to K-12 students through programs developed by The National Theatre for Children. The programs routinely reach millions of children throughout any given school year. The NTC Research Foundation is proud to deliver programs to students who may not have the opportunity for such enrichment programs without the generosity of our sponsors.

About NTC 
NTC is an award-winning educational content provider whose methods include theatrical all-school assemblies, print and digital curriculum, professional development, extracurricular events and volunteers-in-the-schools. Adjusting to changes in the education landscape is a challenge we meet year after year, presenting vital information and life-skills to students on behalf of our clients and sponsors. We proudly partner with organizations that have a mission, goal or mandate to make a real difference in their communities. NTC has developed the art of teaching through educational story-telling into a science of its own, and is an international company with operations in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. www.ntccorporate.com

About FIRST®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $30 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.firstinspires.org.