Fairytale Outreach

Student performers in Peter Pan

by Blake Jarrett and Christopher Jones

On November 16th, gifted middle school students from Brunswick, Greensville, Mecklenburg, and Nottoway visited the Alberta campus of SVCC to enjoy fairy tale adventures.

All Governor’s School juniors and seniors banded together to create booths reflecting scientific and mathematical phenomena in their favorite fairy tales. First, the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) seniors performed an original song and dance entitled “Chem Lab” about chemical reactions and the nature of molecules. Then our guests were invited to roam from booth to booth, participating in the various experiments and activities provided by the GSSV students.

The GSSV Middle School Outreach achieved its goal of providing a leadership opportunity for its students. Teams of students, consisting of both juniors and seniors were tasked with developing an interdisciplinary approach in a theme-based station of their choice. These stations wove math, science, and a fictional character or story into a theme appropriate for middle school grade-levels.

At each theme-based booth, the visiting middle school students engaged in an activity. In developing this activity, the Governor’s School students planned their booth to be attractive and inviting to the visiting middle school guests. The students dressed in costumes relating to their fictional character’s theme and decorated their booths with props, which they constructed.

Many middle school students remarked that they enjoyed the activities planned and explored the creative approach to learning experienced at the Governor’s School. A few examples of popular booths include Harry Potter’s Potions Class (experiments with different liquids); How Much Weight Can Your Hair Bear? (interactive study with actual hair samples to determine if the tale “Rapunzel” is feasible); Run, Cinderella, Run (students solved equations to explore physics behind clock pendulums); It’s Lit (“Hansel and Gretel” themed scavenger hunt to review SOL objectives); “The Wizard of Oz” (students made small-scale rainbows to study their formation by mixing acids and bases); “Tinkerbell” (fluorescent pixie dust); “Guardians of the Galaxy” (students experienced breaking carrots and marshmallows, the water in which had been frozen by liquid nitrogen; although the students could not hand the liquid nitrogen, they could see its effects); and ”Beauty and the Beast” (students participated in Kahoot Quizzes on Ipads to explore logic and symbols within the narrative’s plot; they observed sodium polyacrylate’s effect on water).

The second half of the Fairytale Outreach agenda was the dramatization of a 1904 British literary work, J.M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan. Everyone knows the classic tale of the eternally youthful boy and his adventures in Neverland, but no one had ever seen it performed quite like this! The GSSV seniors dedicated themselves to the challenge of bringing this beloved children’s tale to life. Countless hours of hard work were invested by the Humanities seniors in the creation of props and dramatic scenes.

STEM seniors also joined in the fun as pirates and Indians in the songs and battles. Some highlights of the production included musical numbers, magnificent scenery, and “flights” in the Darling nursery. The play opened with an original song “Peter Pan,” written by Greensville senior Jalon Bryant. “Lost Boys” (Ruth B) sung by all students concluded the production and was enriched by musical talents of Parkview senior Peyton Brown as pianist and Greensville senior Chris Jones as harp-guitarist.

The hand-painted scenery included a Wendy house, the Lost Girls’ tree house, waves, and a kite. The largest prop, a 12” x 7” recreation of the pirate ship Jolly Roger, was designed and painted by Blake Jarrett with a little help from classmates. Group effort was the key to a fun and successful performance of Peter Pan for middle school students in the morning and parents and friends that same night.

The production proceeds of $450 were donated to the Virginia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

student performers
student performers
student performers