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Content Rich Science Skits

Subjects:

Language Arts, Math, Science  

Grades:

9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Content Rich Science Skits

By – Norman Milstein

Primary Subject – Science

Secondary Subjects – Language Arts, Math

Grade Level – 9-12

Introductory Note:

      Here is some information on preparation and performance, as well as the texts of
      some

content rich, science comedy skits

      I wrote some years back. I have used
      the skits very successfully in the classroom, as have many other teachers. My students
      loved these skits and learned a great deal from acting them out as well.

Presently, I am semi-retired from teaching, but I want to keep these plans available.
In addition, I have made simple mp3 recordings of some of the educational math songs
I have written and used very successfully in the classroom. Some of these skits
(performed by a school in the Phillipines) and song performances (by me) can currently
be viewed on YouTube. Feel free to e-mail me to obtain any of these skits and songs.

In the interests of furthering education, teachers can freely post productions of
my skits
to YouTube. I naturally request appropriate credit as author
of the skits. I would appreciate an email notification when a skit is posted.

Skits Included Here:

  • The Adventures of O2, a Real Gas of a Gas (See below)
  • The “g” Force, a Drama in One Equation (See below)
  • I am Hydrogen – Creator and Destroyer of Worlds (See below)

Additional Skits Available Include:

  • The Big Newton
    Show
    (covers all of Newton’s Laws)
  • The Fleming Caper (about the discovery of penicillin)
  • The Mad Nutritionist

Educational Math Songs Available:

  • Galileo
      I

introduce the concepts

      illustrated in each skit with demonstrations and
      hands-on activities whenever possible. Frequently, I play simplified, minimally
      competitive Jeopardy with the kids afterwards to reinforce the content of the skits.
      If the material is complex, they can keep copies of the scripts in front of them
      while we play Jeopardy.

Usually, I give a little extra credit to the performers (aka “Science
Hams”). I enlarge the text of the skits substantially for the Science Hams
(17 pts or so), so they can easily read expressively. They don’t have to memorize
their lines, but I ask them to practice a bit and try to speak clearly and perform
with enthusiasm. Some kids at my school are so adept that they can read most skits
fairly effectively without any practice. We have an excellent drama teacher here.

Feel free to share any materials you may find useful with any teacher. I’m
devoted to helping kids, and I am not asking for any financial reward for these
materials.

Please DO credit me for my work if you share it. I work actively both as
an educator, part-time professional writer, and performer. Also, if you use any
of the skits, I would appreciate a brief email letting me know how things went.


The Adventures of O2, a Real Gas of a Gas

Note:

      I’ve actually given out the text of this first skit included here to entire
      classes as a study aide.

It describes the journey of an oxygen molecule from the
nose to a cell.

      I use a series of transparencies on an overhead to show
      the anatomy and photocopies of the anatomy that the kids can label as well, since
      this journey is fairly difficult to visualize in detail. I’ve had a few kids
      get a little queasy about mucous and such, but generally they LOVED this skit.

There
are lots of weird characters, and even an “epiglottis rap.”

After the students have worked with the skit, I introduce the cellular respiration
chemical equation
(summary version, NOT the Krebs cycle itself) where oxygen
reacts with glucose to produce energy (ATP and heat) and carbon dioxide is produced
as a waste product. The kids then clearly understand that the processes of eating
and breathing are LINKED in our cells. They understand more about WHY we breathe.
We breathe to break sugar in our cells and that’s where most of our energy comes
from.

The Adventures of O2, a Real Gas of a Gas

Scene:

The characters line up in order in front of the class. Oxygen then goes down the
line, meeting and interacting with them in the proper order. To begin, our hero,
O2 , a real gas of a gas, is parked just outside a Windrush science student’s
nostril.

O2:

      “Hi there, air breathing Windrush science students! I’m O

2

      ,
      a real gas of a gas. I’m your diatomic buddy, I am. I’m a world traveler,
      a windrider and a blood sailor! If you only knew the strange and wacky places I’ve
    been. But now, friend student . . . . .. I’m headed up your nose!”

Nose Hair:

      “Hey there, oxygen. You and your identical twins go streaming right past me
      day and night like a rushing river. I know you’re a busy important molecule,
      but I’ve got me a big job too, oxydude. I’m a trapper by trade–a junk trapper.
      I trap yucky particles, so lungs stay cleaner. But you’re welcome anytime here,
    oxygen. Annnytime!”

O2:

      “Thanks, noble nose hair. Humans should appreciate you more. Good luck with
      those pollen grains and dust mites. Now I’m headed for that cavern over yonder
    called the nasal cavity.”

Nasal Cavity:

      “Ahoy, O

2

      ! I’ll warm you up as you zoom toward the lungs. I’m
      also gonna grab intruders that try to sneak in with you. My bold mucous membranes
      trap foul dust. Aargh! I got you, you sickening chunk of lint, you filthy little
    speck! My cilia will fling you down to be swallowed into oblivion.”

O2:

      “Golly gee, nasal cavity. You sure work hard to protect this Windrush kid’s
    lungs.

Epiglottis:

      Well, howdy do! Look who the nose sucked in now! Yo baby, O

2

      ! I’d
      say gimmee five, but gas molecules ain’t got no fingers. The lungs are callin’
      you buddy. It seems this Windrush kid here is feelin’ a little outta breath.
    Zoom on in and head on down!

Epiglottis Rap

Oxygen in! Body wins.

Food stay out! Take another route!

Safety first without a doubt:
That’s what I am all about.

Yes to life. No to death.
I’m protector of your breath!
You should all say thanks a lottus
To your loyal epiglottis!
I tell the truth. I wouldn’t fake ya.
I’m the guardian of your trachea.
Be grateful kids and do not gripe
‘Cause I’m the lid of your windpipe.
But now that I’ve enlightened you.
Let’s not forget about O2!”

O2:

      “Thanks epiglottis, you loyal flap of cartilaginous tissue. Without you, our
      Windrush buddy here would have choked and gagged long ago. Keep on standing guard
      while I dive down past the vocal cords into the trachea and onwards to the primary
    bronchi.”

Trachea:

      “Whoopee! Oxygen! Now we’re cookin’! Lovvve that O

2

    !”

O2:

      “Hmm! Guess I’ll take the left bronchus to the left lung this time. That’s
      the two lobed side. Remember students: The left lung is smaller than the right.
      That’s because you gotta make room for that good old thumping blood pump humans
      call the heart. Gee . . .. All these dark and winding passageways are a bit spooky.
      Thank heavens this student doesn’t smoke! If she did, it would be one grungy,
    grody, greasy, grubby, grimy, slimy nightmare in here.”

Respiratory Bronchiole:

      “You’re almost there O

2

      ! You can do it. Come on through. Just
    a little farther!”

Alveolus:

      “Welcome O

2

      ! We meet again! Here’s where you really get going.
      Diffuse through my mysterious walls and start your next adventure. Blood! Blood!
    Blood! You shall dissolve in blood!”

O2:

      “Taxi! Taxi! Hemoglobin taxi! Oh, there you are. Care to take an O

2

    molecule to some starving cell?”

Hemoglobin:

      “Sure O

2

      . Annnnnnd . . . we’re off in a red blood cell zooming
    through a pulmonary vein back to that thumper in the thorax.”

Left Heart:

      “Ahoy, me hearties! It does me heart good to see you, even if I do feel a bit
      halfhearted about ya. If it isn’t oxygen, our dearest friend, our bosom buddy!
      Hold tight O

2

      ! My ventricle is gonna hurl you out into the aorta, biggest
      artery of them all. Heavvvvve ho!!!! You’re cell-ward bound O

2

      . Good
    luck my friend, and give my best to the cytoplasm.”

O2:

      “Yeehaw! Now we’re movin’! I’ll find me a nice hungry cell to help
    in no time.”

Narrator:

      “And so, our hero, O

2

      , after a long and adventure filled journey,
    finally reaches his (or her) destination, a hungry cell.”

–THE END!


The “g” Force, a Drama in One Equation

Note:

“The ‘g’ Force,” which follows, covers the concept that weight
is the force of gravity acting on a mass
. It introduces the weight equation
which I generally write as Fg=mg where “F subscript g” stands
for “force of gravity.” In lecture I stress that weight is a force and
that mass is NOT a force. It is the amount of matter in something. I run through
situations where “g” changes (as on the moon), or virtually disappears
(in outer space), but “m” remains the same for an object. Then the kids
act out the play once for fun, and sometimes once more during review before a quiz
or test.

The “g” Force, a Drama in One Equation

Our Cast of Characters:

      g:

The acceleration due to gravity. g on earth is 9.8 meters per second per
second.

m: Mass, a very substantial character

Fg: (Weight, the force of gravity) Weight, a forceful and
directed character who throws his or her weight around a lot.

Scene:

The Windrush science room. “m” is holding a balance and working on getting
it aligned properly. “g” is nervously dropping paper clips into a cup.
The equation Fg=mg is written large on the board.

g:

      “I’m sick and tired of it! A plane crashes, some careless kid falls out
      of a tree and knocks himself silly, and who do they blame–me! g! Golly gee! It’s
    just not fair.”

m:

      “Cool it, g. They need you, and they know it. If you cause a little accident
    now and then, well so what!”

g:

      “Gee whiz! It doesn’t take a GEnius to pay more attention to what you’re
      doing. They should know who they’re dealing with. I’m g, earth’s gravitational
    acceleration constant. I act swiftly and decisively.”

m:

      “Calm down, g. Their whole world would fly apart without you, and they know
      it. They’re just afraid of being accelerated at 9.8 meters per second per second
    when they least expect it. Wouldn’t you be?”

g:

      “Of course not! I AM g! I AM 9.8 meters per second per second. I love being
      me. In fact, everybody FALLS for me.”

(g starts talking wildly here )

“They drop like flies.

They plummet and plunge and plop.
They dive and tumble and thud!

They topple and crumple and collapse.

But still, they gotta have me or chaos would rule.

Without me, up would have no down.

Humpty Dumpty would be an astronaut.

The air they breathe would just float away into outer space.

They better be glad I’m around!”

m:

      “Well, g, you do keep things from flying apart. Besides, without me, you wouldn’t
      do any harm at all. It’s our, uh, weighty business partnership that’s the
      heavy-duty problem. We make weight, and weight is the force that makes things fall.
      Weight makes for some seriously damaging collisions.”

Enter weight. Weight looks rough and tough and ready to rumble.

Fg:

      “So! You want to make me into the fall guy! When the physics police come, you’re
      gonna make me take the rap while you two get off easy. I oughta flatten you two!

Maybe I do throw my weight around a bit. Maybe I do bring down a 747 or two. And
yeah, it is true: I’m always putting people down. But just try being weightLESS
for a while, sweetheart, and you’ll see. You’ll REALLY see! Without me,
they gotta strap you down so you don’t float away in your sleep! Why I oughta
. . . “

(weight reaches out as if to strangle g )

g :

      “Wait up, weight! We know you’re heavy. We need you, buddy. We can’t
      do it without you. We’re all in this together. We’re an equation, a relationship,
      a team! We’re a basic force of physics! We’ll show ‘em all who’s
      in charge around this old planet. Let’s tell ‘em!” (

g points at the
equation written on the board

    )

Fg:

    “The force of gravity equals”

m:

    “m”

g:

    “g !”

g:

      (

excited

      ) “That’s us! That’s it! We’re the weight equation!
      We’re a force to be reckoned with. We’re a totally terrific team! We’re
    the heavyweight champions of the world, now and forever.”

–THE END!


I am Hydrogen – Creator and Destroyer of Worlds

Note:

This is a skit for teaching information about hydrogen. It covers hydrogen’s
fundamental significance as the building block element for all the other elements
and points out that hydrogen fuels the stars. It also deals comically with some serious
ethical issues in science.

I am Hydrogen – Creator and Destroyer of Worlds

Our Cast of Characters:

      Hydrogen:

A very, very upset, paranoid, and demented little element

John Dalton: A very, very famous chemist (he’s on stage)

Scene:

Enter Hydrogen. Hydrogen jumps up and down throwing a tantrum.

Hydrogen:

      “They called me little! The called me puny, dainty, paltry, a runty little
      reject! They even called me wimpy! ONE LOUSY PROTON is all you’ve got, they
      said. Why you’re such a lightweight the earth’s gravity doesn’t even
      hold you down! You’re barely even big enough to be in the periodic table! All
      you can do is make things into acids, they said.

Big deal! Well, I’ll show them who’s “the bomb” around here! Why
I am Hydrogen – Creator and Destroyer of Worlds!”

 


Hydrogen cackles diabolically.


John Dalton:

      “Believe me, hydrogen, I respect you. I even fear you. I fear humanity won’t
      respect your power nearly enough. I fear people won’t be careful or caring enough
    to deal with your infinite power.”

 


Hydrogen cackles diabolically.


Hydrogen:

      “It’s too late, man of chemical wisdom. I’ve had it! Would you make
      fun of your own hand or your own heart or any other part of yourself? Those stupid
      big elements are doing that. They think it’s just fine to throw their atomic
    weight around and pick on Hydrogen. No sympathy for the little guy.”

John Dalton:

      “Calm down Hydrogen! They’ll come around. Those bigger elements depend
      on you completely. They’re made out of you. They can’t put you down without
    putting themselves down.’

 


Hydrogen cackles diabolically.


Hydrogen:

      “‘But they DO put me down, those wretched, rotten, big bad bullies! Little
      do they realize, but I’m more than their hand and heart. Yes, it’s true!
      I am the building block from which the other elements are made. I’m the building
    block of the entire universe. Why, I ought to blow them all back to kingdom come!”

John Dalton:

      “With all due respect, almighty one, that won’t help. The hydrogen bomb
      is based on fusion which consumes hydrogen to make larger elements. Are you so angry
      that you want to destroy yourself and make more of them? And you know what, I think
    you are extremely, remarkably, astonishingly, superbly interesting.”

Hydrogen:

    “You do? Really?”

John Dalton:

“Absolutely, Hydrogen!
You’re, elemental, fundamental, and, uh, other sorts of mental as well.
Why, without you, the periodic table wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
Why, it’s you that put the nucleus in nuclear.
You put the soul in solar and the fuse in fusion.
And without you, there wouldn’t even be any other types of atoms.
No oxygen for breathing, no copper for pennies, no carbon for diamonds, no helium
for balloons, no silicon for chips!
Why I thank my lucky stars for you, Hydrogen, because there would be no stars without
you around to fuel them.”

Hydrogen:

      “Aw gee, Johnny. What a guy! What a speech. That’s sweet. I guess I won’t
    blow up the universe today after all.”

John Dalton:

      “That’s very sensible of you, Hydrogen. I’m sure you and all the other
      elements can talk this over. After all, you’re such a nice sensible little atom–OOPS!
    I mean, uh, sensible, wonderful, astounding noble atom.”

Hydrogen:

      “Oh sure . . . I’ll give ‘em a week to apologize, and if they don’t
      . . . (

Hydrogen cackles diabolically

      ) it’s curtains! They won’t have
      Hydrogen to kick around any more. Talk about Big Bangs! I’ll make the Big Bang
      look like the Little Hiccup before I’m through.” (

Hydrogen cackles diabolically

    )

–THE END!


I am Inertia, Laziest of the Lazy

Note:

This next skit deals with Newton’s 1st Law and the somewhat difficult concept
of inertia.
The skit also deals with “force” and “work.
In addition, the skit reinforces the concept that inertia is proportional to mass.

Here is I am Inertia,
Laziest of the Lazy
performed by a school in the Philippines.

I am Inertia, Laziest of the Lazy

Our Cast of Characters:

      Inertia:

Laziest of the lazy

Force: A very pushy (and pully) sort of person

Scene:

Inertia is sitting casually on stage looking lazy and very pleased with herself (or
himself).

Inertia:

      “I am inertia, laziest of the lazy, the ultimate and eternal do NOTHING! Ha
    Ha Ha! I make others do it all for me!”

Force:

      “I’ll make you move, you petrified sludge, you dawdling sloth, you spineless
    banana slug!”

Inertia:

      “Yes, you certainly CAN make me move, bucko, but then you’ll also have
      to make me STOP!!! I just go on doing whatever I’m doing. I do it forever unless
      YOU do something to change me. It’s heads I win, tails I win: WIN WIN WIN!!!!
      I ALWAYS win. Either way, you do all my work, and I kick back and watch you sweat,
    grunt, and groan until you DIE of exhaustion.”

Force:

      “Don’t you have any will of your own? Isn’t there anything you want
    to just DO FOR YOURSELF?”

Inertia:

      “In all honesty, no! I’ll just do whatever I happen to be doing forever
    and ever. I LOVVVVVE being lazy!”

Force:

      “Phooey on yooey, you potato, you jello brain. You always make me do all the
    work.”

Inertia:

      “Yep! Resting or moving, I just go on doing whatever I’m doing if you don’t
      butt in. If you want me to do something else, go faster or slower, or stop . . .
      you’ll have to do every bit of the work to change me. Because I simply DON’T,
      WON’T CAN’T, SHAN’T, WOULDN’T, AND COULDN’T care less about
    what I do. I just do whatever I happen to be doing.”


(Force is getting desperate now and gets down and begs on his or her knees)

Force:

      “Please, Inertia! Won’t you just lift one iddy biddy finger to help me
    out? Have you no mercy?”

Inertia:

      “Actually, no! Tough luck, Buster. I don’t care a fig Newton or an Isaac
      Newton about you. I won’t lift a finger for you. I won’t lift a feather.
      I won’t EVEN lift an ATOM FOR YOU! It’s simply not possible. I’m Inertia,
      and by definition, it’s YOU who do all the work. And me? I think I’ll just
      mellow out and do what I always do. That is . . . NOTHING . . . but whatever I happen
      to already be doing! And don’t forget, Forcey boy (or girl): the more mass,
      the more Inertia! . . . and there’s plenty of mass to keep you busy for all
      of eternity! It’s just tough luck, you workaholic wacko. You’re going to
      keep on doing ALL MY WORK, NOW, LATER, AND FOREVER!

–THE END!


Final note:

      Thanks again for your interest. I hope you find the skits useful. Let me know how
    they turned out or if you are interested in my other work (listed above).

Sincerely,

E-Mail Norman Milstein!

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