From the dad jokes to the physical humour to audience participation, Adam Savage and Michael Stevens had me at the get go. On Saturday, my big girls and I attended an engaging two-hour show completely devoted to science in Toronto. Even the screenshots before the show began with the variations of how to show “brain candy” in different languages and pictures were fascinating. The girls were hooked by “candy” in the title. Big H kept saying, ‘I’m so excited! This is awesome.” As always, the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts had a wonderful turnout.
Big H was accurate in her excitement because the show was awesome. Although some of the science concepts were out of their reach, they grasped the experiments readily. We learned about “liquid water” versus water vapour and the names of numbers with many zeroes like sextillion (16 zeroes) and octovigintillion (28 zeroes). They did several experiments to show that our theatre air is made up of many molecules and conducted experiments with speed and sound. We learned about us weighing roughly the same as two and a half elephants in molecules. They blew out a gigantic air ring that was ethereal and just amazing.
Each segment was separated by their silly dance routines (I love how self-deprecating they were). Diagrams on the back screens helped to explain some of the scientific concepts before and during the experiments. For us visual learners that helped a great deal. When they discussed the weather and clouds and then created a cloud in a bottle…POOF! They had my second grader fascinated because she actually could answer some questions like evaporation and condensation. She understood what they were trying to show and to see her little face light up because of the familiar words…that was awesome.
From the audience, they had a volunteer named little Abigail participate (waiver in hand, lol). She helped insert plugs from hairdryers onto a larger circular platform. After all of them were plugged in, she sat in the seat and they sent her back and forth on the stage. They had made a hovercraft! That was really cool only to be made funnier because on the back screen, we saw a game of Pong complete with sound effects. They certainly knew their target audience.
After the break, they answered the audience’s tweets. Some were personal questions such as how they met (they have the same agent, spoiler alert) and how they did in school. Other questions were science based such as would water spin in different directions in different parts of the world (it does because it depends on the rotation and closeness to the equator). I can’t stop thinking about their mice and cardboard story. Oh my…
They introduced some juggling, but it wasn’t the idea of juggling that struck a chord with me. I think it was how Adam kept saying he persevered no matter how bad he was at it. He really wanted to do it so he kept at it. I know my daughters sometimes give up on things that are challenging so hearing “don’t give up” from someone other than their parents must have been refreshing. :). Adam talked about how he made his own juggling clubs (my girls love to make things and lately, they’ve been into making slime) so they sat up a bit during this segment. We saw a demo of his juggling skills and then a simple lesson on air and moving into the Bernoulli principle and the Coanda effect (excellent for my science program as flight is in the Grade 6 curriculum). To end the show, they did a review with song. It was a perfect ending to the double period of science class.
Brain Candy Live was a great show and I’d highly recommend it to adults, teens, teachers, and all fans of science! They tested everyday items and built machines that were HUGE! Shooting hundreds of ping pong balls out on stage (mad rush of kids down the aisle followed) to emptying a roll of toilet paper in seconds, these guys captured our attention for the full two hours. We left a little more knowledge and full of brain candy. Sweet.