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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Science Alliance's 'Tuk' Is Calling All Children

How do you teach children the science behind climate change and sea level rise? You do it as entertainingly as possible, which is what Science Alliance Live at Old Dominion University proposes to do with its presentation of the children's stage play "Tuk in the Arctic" and accompanying activities that allow children to conduct experiments of their own.

The show, which is meant to appeal especially to children aged 5-12, opens Thursday, June 5, and will be repeated on June 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 and 21. Thursday and Friday shows are at 6:30 p.m. and those on Saturday are at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Admission to the shows, which will be in Goode Theatre at 4601 Monarch Way, will be $16 for the general public and $11 for children and people in the ODU and military communities. Parking is free in Garage D at 45th Street and Hampton Boulevard. To order tickets, go to www.oduartstix.com. More information is at 757-683-3391 or www.scienceallaincelive.org.

Science Alliance Live at ODU brings together artistic faculty with research faculty, and "Tuk in the Arctic" results from a collaboration of Jenifer Alonzo, assistant professor of communication and theatre arts, and Victoria Hill, an assistant research professor in oceanography.

Alonzo, who is artistic director for Science Alliance Live, wrote the play based on Hill's research in the Arctic. In recent years, that research has targeted colored dissolved organic material that might be in higher concentrations than previously though in Arctic waters, and causing more absorption of heat. Hill's hypothesis is that the amount of light penetration and the absorption of that light right beneath the sea ice could be critical to improving scientists' understanding of the recent rapid sea ice melt and retreat in the Arctic.

The character Tuk, played by ODU theatre and music student India Tyree, is a dog who helps Hill (played by new Norfolkian Tori Gowland) with a science project in the Arctic. A third character is Smith Carter, a polar engineer (played by ODU theatre major Samuel Locker).

"No show about the Arctic would be complete without a polar bear or two," Alonzo added. The two in "Tuk" are played by ODU freshman and Granby High School graduate Naire Poole and ODU junior Jasmine Sargent,.

"I was inspired at an early age by a traveling theater group," Tyree said. "When learning about Jenifer's vision for 'Tuk in The Arctic,' I reflected back to the impact theater had on my life as a child and wanted to jump right on board, do what I love most, and teach elementary students while having fun!"

Alonzo said, "The data collection in the distant land shows how research can impact life in Hampton Roads," such as efforts to better understand sea level rise. "We are connecting scientific research to our local community through the arts."

After each performance of the play, children will be invited to do science with their parents. They will learn:

How ice melt in the Arctic might affect the children of Hampton Roads

How scientists and engineers observe nature, use math, and build tools to help us adapt to the changing world

How food chains are interconnected

How light and heat absorption contribute to the loss of Arctic ice

Science Alliance Live is funded in part by a grant from the Community Leadership Partners of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation. It was developed as a multidisciplinary collaboration of performing arts, education, and science to stimulate interest and understanding of science. More information can be found at http://sciencealliancelive.org/

The performance and post-show activities are supported in part by the ODU Alumni Association. Pupils from Jacox Elementary School in Norfolk and members of Girls Inc. will see the show for free through the support of the Community Leadership Partners of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.