On a rainy morning on the Westside, students learned why grass is green and the sky is blue.
Instead of listening at their desk while their teacher went through a lesson, they were seated in the cafeteria last week watching a play that combined myth, science, theater and fun.
The play, titled "The Science of Color," was written by Playhouse Merced Education Director Noelle Chandler to include aspects of the science curriculum for third- and fourth-graders and she said she sees this medium as an effective educational tool.
"Live theatre allows students to look at facts and theories through the lens of interactive storytelling, without a doubt the most effective teaching method I've ever come across," Chandler said.
The nearly hour-long interactive play was performed by Playhouse Merced veterans Michelle Kittel, 26, and Danielle Rodriguez, 27.
"We tried to tell the mythological and scientific reasons for why things are the color they are," Kittel said.
This was one performance of about 40 to schools throughout Merced County. The Merced County Office of Education is partnering with county school districts to cover half of the $200-per-show cost.
Merced County Superintendent of Schools Steven E. Gomes said because of state cuts to school funding, most school districts have reduced or completely cut visual and performing arts from the school day.
"We want to help provide students with these experiences during the school year and provide visual and performing art programs during the summer through the MCOE Foundation," Gomes said.
Third-grader Kurt Eusebio, 9, volunteered to come onstage as an audience participant.
"I learned why the grass is green and why the sky is blue," he said.
Eusebio says his favorite subjects are reading and science.
He had never seen a play before "The Science of Color," but hopes that he has the chance to attend another performance.
Rodriguez said performance are all about the students.
"We get teachers that say 'we're so appreciative that you're here, we don't really get a chance to have this because we don't have the budget,' " she said.
To learn more about Playhouse Merced, call Chandler at (209) 725-8587 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.