CMS Drama CLUB - S.T.E.M.

“I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein


Each Spring, our school hosts a Dinner Playhouse event, with a full production and dinner for our CMS family and community.  The production is a musical with set, advertisement and costumes.  Teachers encourage the students to audition and work behind the scenes to make the event possible, from sound and lighting effects to set design, advertisement, and service roles during the event.  

design thinking at work...

For the most enriching and entertaining example of the design thinking process at Cleveland Middle School, one needs to look no further than the annual spring musical performance. Since 2004, the school has provided myriad creative opportunities for students and staff to showcase their talents, work collaboratively, and undergo perpetual self-evaluation and revision of their craft and their product. All who choose to participate in this program are welcomed. They work tirelessly over the course of six months to cast and refine their character roles, practice and perfect their songs, troubleshoot their blocking and scene changes, formulate their props and costumes, design and construct their set, market their show to audiences, and finally-- to perform a show that they will remember for the rest of their lives. 

The process at CMS begins with brainstorming. Directors, drama coaches, and musicians meet to choose a play that will suit the student body and the community that supports them. Pre-audition clinics are held to coach and encourage students as they prepare to audition and join the musical family for the season-- many for the first time. Skills such as speaking with respect and accountability, acting with bravery, improvising, and serving as a member of a team are emphasized. Once actors and backstage crew members are given their roles, they immediately set themselves to generating ideas. They analyze the script, visualize the songs, and highlight details from the text that will bring the story to life for their audiences. The creative process is fluid as adults and students alike are able to experiment, clarify, edit, and problem solve together. Long hours are spent drawing diagrams, hauling materials, hammering nails, and rolling paint. Students and their families sew their own costumes and powder their own faces. They memorize their lines, learn to control the lights panel, the sound board, the microphones, and the curtain. All those who participate in this program are propelled forward by the perpetual puzzle and the thrill of partnership in such an expansive piece of art; the success of which is proven not by the steady attendance, but by the ever-increasing numbers of those who opt in to this engaging experience. 


The performing arts not only bring joy into learning but give our students an excitement and reason to come to school.  Using all of their senses, they help make the wonderful connections supporting STEM.  Creating a fantasy world on stage with wood, paint, lighting, and sound issues requires multiple skills and highlights many principle learned in science, engineering, design and technology.   


The skills and benefits that come with school theater are exactly like the skills and benefits that come from athletics. It’s communal, purpose-driven, and filled with life lessons and advantages. From organization to creativity, students discover new talents and make a commitment that encourages their perseverance and problem-solving capabilities.  Throughout the process there are many STEM skills that help make the "magic" happen!


Project Based Learning (PBL) is a constructivist instructional approach where students are engaged in meaningful inquiry of personal interest to them and where collaboration and personalized learning are emphasized. Research confirms that PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career and civic life.