Creative Coding/Dance Collaboration



A creative collaboration between SPI and Central Ohio Youth Ballet allowed a unique coding learning opportunity for local elementary students and their parents to generate a written code to be synchronized with performances featuring MVMS student Lucia Burt.
When evolving public health concerns interrupted plans for an anticipated performance of The Nutcracker in Mount Vernon, the leader of the Science Playspace Initiative (SPI), approached representatives of the Central Ohio Youth Ballet (COYB) with a creative idea.
“I asked if they’d be willing to find us two of their dancers who would allow Knox County families to ‘program’ them in an imaginary audition,” said Stephanie Calondis Geiger, executive director of SPI. “They were interested but couldn’t initially imagine how it would work. I said our staff would worry about designing the educational materials to introduce kids to the computer coding concept of an algorithm and figure out all the technical parts of putting the kids’ ideas together in a fun way. They’d only need to bring two dancers in to perform in front of a green screen in our building.”

The Nutcracker……coded by Beckett
Link to all project videos.
Inside Wright Center, a Kenyon College-affiliated filmmaker (with Hollywood credits) later captured Lucia Burt moving through three different choreography¬†sequences in two different costumes. Cory Claffley-Koller then used this footage, scene changes and other special features to piece together custom ‘shorts’ made to local families’ specifications.
Geiger said this initiative was just one example of her organization’s ongoing SPI-to-Go initiative that has been serving families over the past year while their indoor facility, known as SPI Spot, has remained closed. She and her staff have designed and given out many hundreds of FREE packets offering hands-on fun to many thousands of area citizens in safely managed ways; their bags of do-together-at-home materials include books, experiment ingredients, discussion prompts, and art supplies aligned with themed outdoor outings organized by the SPI team.
Other ways SPI has partnered with the district during COVID:
  • Provided SPI to Go packets to remote learners so they would have more hands-on learning materials
  • Provided SPI to Go packets to Columbus Elementary teachers so they could lead students through book-based (and STEAM-focused) activities
  • Donated special LEGO materials for use by the MVHS robotics team
  • Provided safe volunteering experiences for MVHS teeen volunteers – helping at summer camps, packing SPI to Go packets and handing them out at outdoor field trips
SPI Spot is a non-profit science center and hands-on children’s museum that in normal times serves as a drop-in family playspace in the center of Mount Vernon.
Information courtesy of Mount Vernon City Schools

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