By CB Adams
By turning the factoid-filled Missouri Almanac 2018-19 into a immersive learning experience, the creators of The MO Almanac: Step Into the Story have a hidden agenda.
They use an engaging, high-energy game show to reveal the Show Me State’s most interesting facts and factoids. It’s the “spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” approach, except the “sugar” is more like Pop Rocks candy and the “medicine” is a deliciously broad blend of Missouri’s culture, achievements, geology, geography and noteworthy citizens.
“Between the book and the show, we hope kids develop a sense of pride about coming from or living in Missouri,” says St. Louisan Amanda Doyle, one of the book’s five authors. “The book contains information about the history of Missouri, but also about what is going on now, today, like science, technology, biotech and space exploration.”
Still, Doyle admits children are drawn to the more outrageous, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not-type information. For instance, they love to learn about – and show off their knowledge of – towns with unusual names, such as Tightwad, Novelty and Licking. They also like the book’s sections about haunted places, like St. Louis’s Lemp Mansion.
As part of the Summer Fun Series at the Missouri History Museum, the free Step Into the Story presentation turns the passive activity of reading a book about Missouri (fun as it is) into a participatory experience that includes, but is not limited to, an exciting live game show. Presented by high-energy performers, this interactive show tests students’ knowledge of the Show-Me State. The action includes stimulating questions posed to student contestants, with audience participation games held between rounds. Multiple rounds of Q&A highlight famous Missourians, native wildlife, historic places and bizarre facts.
“There’s something for everybody,” Doyle says. “For the book itself, we were thinking of kids, but it’s funny how many adults gravitate to it, too. And, this broad appeal extends to the Step Into the Story show.”
Mo Almanac: Step Into the Story is presented by the Missouri Historical Society at the Missouri History Museum, 5700 Lindell Blvd. on Thursday, July 25, at 10:30 a.m.