Marc Spiegel's Einstein Alive!
Blending Science, History, and Entertainment
Among other accolades, Marc Spiegel's Einstein Alive! has been called:
“a marvelous science presentation,” explaining “complicated theories in an age appropriate and extremely entertaining way.”
Utilizing age-appropriate techniques, Marc Spiegel’s Einstein Alive! not only successfully introduces Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to middle school and high school students, but also presents the subject in so entertaining and engaging a fashion that it captivates elementary grade students (and the adults in the audience) as well.
Elementary School: K-2 & 3-5
Einstein talks about his life and the "adventures" within his mind. Einstein vividly uses humor, song and lively audience participation to describe how Physics (with a ph not an f) studies matter and energy, to illustrate the strangeness of motion, and to explain what “relative” really means.
The K-2 & 3-5 shows conclude with an unforgettable demonstration of motion’s relativity using Einstein’s “relative motion machine”, audience participation and the assistance of a willing teacher. A spirited Q & A session follows. While the k-2 and 3-5 shows are similar, the older program includes an explanation of “frame of reference” and an introduction to what is “special” about Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity.
Middle School: 6-8
Einstein begins the Middle School show by explaining the “problem of motion” using lively audience participation, including the “Push-Pull” song, to show how both standing still and moving require a push or a pull that needs something else. Einstein again employs humor, song and audience participation to unforgettably illustrate what “relative” means and how you can be moving and standing still at the same time depending on your “frame of reference.” Einstein then guides the audience through a classic and humorous thought experiment.
The program proceeds with Einstein's vivid demonstration of how his imagination solved the great puzzle of relativity in 1905 and led him to his Special Theory of Relativity. Einstein concludes with the “Speed of Light” finale song and an often surprising Q & A.
The Elementary School program:
Introduces the science of Physics and what it studies.
Demonstrates how things move and stop moving.
- what friction is.
- what “relative” means and how it relates to motion.
- what a “frame of reference” is and why it is so important.
- what a theory is.
- what matter & energy are and how they are connected.
The program also discusses the importance of curiosity and determination and provides an introduction to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.
The Middle School program:
Presents all of the elementary program topics in greater detail while explaining:
- electromagnetic radiation.
- what we mean when we speak of “speed.”
- the constant speed of light & the great puzzle of relativity.
- what is “special” about the Special Theory of Relativity.
- what is a theoretical physicist.
- what is a thought experiment.
- what is E=mc2.
In addition, Einstein discusses:
- his life and his fame.
- his love of playing violin.
- his fascination with puzzles.
- his difficulties in school.
As well as:
The importance of imagination:
I was not successful because I had more knowledge than anyone else, but because I was able to imagine certain things, about which everyone else already knew, that others had not yet considered.
The great value of curiosity and determination:
If I had a gift, it was not that I was more intelligent than others, but rather that I was more curious than the average person. And I was determined. I would never give up on a problem no matter how long it took me until I found some understanding…