Science of Engagement – Building Connections Through Eye-Catching Demonstrations

Science of Engagement Breckenridge with Steve Spangler

September 29-30, 2017

Science of Engagement – Breckenridge, Colorado

Color-changing liquids, rope puzzles, buzzing circuits, vanishing liquids, puncture-proof balloons and some mind-boggling experiments are just a few of the visual storytelling tools that were featured at our Science of Engagement workshop in Breckenridge, Colorado.
This workshop experience was focused on building connections through engagement to achieve greater understanding of concepts like teamwork, goal setting, effective communication, leadership, collaboration, creativity and innovation to name a few. Discussion centered around best practices and strategies for getting our students, co-workers or even a large audience to ratchet up their level of engagement to achieve better understanding of even complex concepts.
The engagement mantra was an oldie but goodie… “Tell me an I’ll forget, show me and I’ll remember, but involve me and I’ll understand.”

A Different Workshop Experience

Without question, this event was unlike anything we’ve ever done before. Why? Over the years, most of the professional development that we’ve ever offered has been focused on helping educators increase their effectiveness in the classroom. The Science of Engagement drew interest from workshop trainers, educators, science communicators, museum directors, professional athletes, leadership coaches and even professional speakers who were interested in harnessing the power of visual engagement with their audiences. Grabbing an audience’s attention is just the first step in the engagement model. This workshop uncovered strategies for using the science behind the “wow” to help illustrate human interactions and the ways that people work together to achieve the highest levels of success.
Consider this… It’s possible to stick a sharpened, wooden skewer through a balloon without popping it. It’s a classic demonstration that explores the science of the polymers that make up a balloon. If you know something about the science of a balloon, it’s easy to maneuver your way in between the long chains of polymer molecules that make up the stretchy Latex without releasing all of the air (POP!). In a parallel way of thinking, skilled negotiators know how to navigate stressful situations by concentrating on the areas of least stress in order to get to the root of the issue without provoking an emotional explosion (so to speak). Understanding the science behind the puncture proof balloon demonstration provides a contextual comparison to the deeper emotional concept of stress.

Building Connections & Creating Experiences

The two-day event was filled with more than three dozen hands-on experiments, demonstrations and mind-benders all aimed at engaging the learner in ways to build connections that help make sense out of complex concepts.

“I never thought about looking at the ‘science’ of what I do as a customer service expert,” said Ruby Newell-Legner, CEO of 7 Star Service and past president of the National Speakers Association. “Teamwork is a concept that I’ve taught for years, but putting a visual twist on the concept will make the experience far more memorable.”

This was not a sit-and-watch workshop or an experience driven by hundreds of PowerPoint slides. Participants received hands-on materials to not only use in the workshop but to take-home as a tool to strengthen their own personal teaching experience.

Kim Kassin is the owner of Science Scope, a Florida-based science education company specializing in school presentations and after-school programs aimed at getting K-8 children interested in STEM related activities. “This experience took the art of engagement to a new level,” said Kim while trying to balance eleven giant nails on the head of a single nail. “The science of balance is all about the center of gravity. To get these nails to balance, you have to distribute the mass to make the system stable. Isn’t that exactly what we have to do in the human experience if we want to achieve life balance? Sometimes we have to realign our priorities (the mass) and set-up a system of support to bring balance between work and family life.”

Visit the Science of Engagement page to learn more about upcoming workshops.


Ruby Newell-Legner says:

October 12, 2017 at 4:32 pm

Steve brings out the joy of learning.
Although I have been a trainer for more than 25 years, I am always looking for new ideas to bring home my message. This workshop provided tips, techniques, and strategies that can be used by everyone, ranging from those just starting their teaching career to seasoned professional speakers like myself.
The inviting classroom setting at Science of Engagement created a synergistic learning environment. The resource notebook will help me remember the steps in each activity and the amazing props/tools that were provided were so plentiful, it took two large bags to contain it all.
Steve involved us as students which made the experience so much more insightful. The activities he shared can be used in a wide range of settings from the school classroom to a staff development workshop to a keynote presentation.
I can hardly wait to use my new tool chest of interactive activities to engage participants and make learning more fun.

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