Several years ago, engineers at Honeywell, a 28 billion dollar diversified technology and manufacturing leader, became concerned when research showed fewer people were pursuing science, math and engineering careers, while employment opportunities in these fields was increasing three times faster than all other occupations. With the help of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Honeywell launched FMA Live!, an innovative, traveling hip hop science concert designed to stimulate enthusiasm for science in America's middle-school students. On Friday morning, FMA Live! brought their performance to Largo Middle School.
Named for Sir Isaac Newton's second law of motion (force = mass x acceleration), FMA Live! uses professional actors, original songs, music videos and interactive science demonstrations to teach middle school students Newton's three laws of motion firsthand. A large Velcro wall is used to demonstrate inertia, go-carts driven across the stage to illustrate action and reaction, and volunteer wrestlers to show that force is determined by mass multiplied by acceleration. All three of Newton's laws are exemplified simultaneously when a futuristic hover chair, carrying Largo Middle School teacher Sherri Bowditch, collides with a gigantic cream pie.
FMA Live! has already traveled 23,000 miles, covering 32 U.S. states to reach more than 73,000 students in 153 schools. The entire program, including the 18-wheel truck, tour bus, and 10 person cast and crew, is fully funded by Honeywell. Honeywell's Hometown Solutions, the company's community outreach initiative, funds this middle-school project along with a Honeywell Scholars Program designed for High School students and a Honeywell Educator's program for teachers.
If enthusiasm is any indicator, FMA Live! was very successful in inspiring Largo Middle School students' interest in Newton's Laws of Motion. Friday's crowd filled the gym with well-behaved, excited teenagers several of whom participated as volunteers in the morning's events. "The performance was awesome," exclaimed assistant principal Jenna Wyne. "The kids were so into it!" One can only wish all learning could be this much fun.
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