Innovative Sydney school combines science and theatre in engaging performance

Written by Louise

November 1, 2023

Haberfield Public School has delivered six dazzling performances of Good to Great Schools Australia’s original theatre show E = mc² – The Musical.

The musical is a homage to the legendary scientists who contributed to some of the greatest scientific discoveries of past three centuries leading up to Einstein’s breakthrough E = mc². 

A cast of students play the parts of Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Emile du Chatelet, Antoine and Marie-Anne Lavoisier, Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn. 

The four main characters use a time machine to travel to meet these famous scientists at various points in their lives. 

The performance includes hip-hop, choral music and pop to explore the power of scientific endeavour.  

Renowned music teacher mentor and Haberfield Public School music teacher David Collins-White said the 70-minute musical was performed six times over three days to an impressed audience.  

“The audience reaction has been amazing with a spontaneous standing ovation on opening night, which was very exciting for the students,” said Mr Collins-White.

E = mc² – The Musical has been designed to enable schools to engage with families in the science their children are learning in school. 

Mr  Collins-White said this impact was obvious on parents and siblings in the audience. 

“Several parents who work as professionals in theatre and music remarked on what a great musical it is,” he said.  

“Students and adults were singing the tunes as they were leaving,” he continued. 

Good to Great Schools Australia Director of Arts Chris Kohn said that underlying the fun is a serious message about the importance of science education.  

“Using musical theatre and family engagement as a platform for science education and learning about scientific discovery is an enriching experience for the students,” said Mr Kohn. 

“The Haberfield school community worked very hard to put on this unique and exciting event,” continued Mr Kohn. 

Good to Great Schools Australia founder and co-chair Noel Pearson said the decline in science education is an issue of national concern. 

“The OECD’s PISA tests show a continuing decline in Australian students’ science results. There is also a significant gap between boys and girls. Science education is an issue of national concern,” said Mr Pearson. 

“Good to Great Schools Australia is reorienting thinking about science education,” said Mr Pearson. 

“Science belongs to every Australian child – the work of Albert Einstein, Emile du Chatelet and Lise Meitner belongs to us all,” continued Mr Pearson. 

Oz-e-science balances teacher-directed instruction, inquiry learning. Lessons utilise rapid reviews to consolidate content, monitoring to check for understanding, and regular progress tests. 

It teaches scientific inquiry skills through investigations, experiments, and frequent engagement with the local environment. It incorporates activities like theatre and field trips ad meets all the science requirements of the Australian Curriculum. 

“Oz-e-science stimulates the natural curiosity of students and students fall in love with knowledge, gain a sense of wonder about the universe and understand the potential of scientific endeavour as science becomes part of their life’s journey,” said Mr Pearson. 

Learn more about E=mc² – The Musical

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