Education Through Entertainment

School Assemblies and School Shows – It Pays To Check Around!

Posted on Mon, Apr 2, 2012

mobile planetariumMost schools like to have professional assembly programs visit their building from time to time. After all, school assemblies, are fun, entertaining, and, if you pick the right ones, a great way to teach kids and augment the curriculum using tools and techniques most schools do not have available in house.

But good school assembly programs can be expensive! Budgets in many places are still tight. And nothing is worse than bringing in an expensive program and then learning the school down the street had a similar program but paid a lot less than you did. I mean, who likes that feeling?

And the fact is that different performers and companies can and do vary wildly in how much they charge for similar programs. Let's look at some examples.

Take mobile planetariums. There are a lot of companies around offering to bring a portable planetarium to your school. But they are not all alike, and the fees can vary by a lot. Some use small domes that will only hold 25-35 kids at a time. A day with a program like this may seem like a good price. But the average school will need several days to allow the entire school to visit the planetarium. Mobile Ed Productions' Sky Dome, on the other hand, is a large dome that can accommodate up to 500 students per day, so only one day is needed. And with the latest in digital star projectors to fill the sky with stars and computer generated special FX, Sky Dome is the technological equal of any other portable planetarium available today. However, all the competitors of which we are aware charge far more than the less than $800 per day we charge for this “stellar” program. Some competitors charge more by hundreds of dollars. It pays to check around.

Now let us look at another “all day” event, The Earth Dome, otherwise known as The Earth Balloon. Several companies offer this assembly program to schools, and all use the same exact product, made by the very same company. Most charge $1000 a day or more, plus travel. Mobile Ed, for exactly the same product, charges less than $800 per day. Again, it pays to shop around.the earth balloon

Another “all day” event is the all day “hands on science” assembly. Many science museums around the country offer something like this. The day usually involves an all school assembly followed by a series of groups of kids visiting the school gym where volunteers from the school are there to assist kids as they make their way around a circuit of hands on stations. These science events are great fun and offer great value as curriculum boosting activities. However, most science museums doing outreach to schools with events like this charge $1000 a day or more. Mobile Ed offers a couple of programs in this field – Physics is Fun and Kidz Science Safari, both equal in all respects to those $1000 a day affairs, and yet Mobile Ed charges less than $800 for the same experience. It really does pay to shop around.

But not all school assemblies are all day events. Many school assemblies are simple 45 minute programs. Here, the going rate for first class professional school shows is usually around $350 to $500 (though some are much higher). Mobile Ed is in the middle of the pack here, with a single program priced under $500. Where the real difference comes into play is when a school desires to split their audience into two back to back presentations (always recommended!) Our competitors routinely charge almost double to do two back to back performances. At Mobile Ed, though our school assemblies are top quality, and the equal or better of anything out there, for the second performance we simply charge an extra $100. Are you getting the idea? It pays (in real cash) savings to shop around.

portable planetariumWhy do other companies and individuals charge so much?We can only guess. In some cases it has to do with the frequency with which these performers work. Obviously, if you are a performer trying to make a living from doing school shows, and you work only once a week, that one school has to pay enough to cover all your expenses for that week. And many performers in this field only perform once a week or less. Mobile Ed performers, though, are working almost every day, trying to get to all the schools that want our programs. So we can charge less because your school is but one of several in which we work that week. And, as a different benefit (as though saving money was not enough) who do you think will do a better job for you, a performer who gets up in front of kids three or four times a month, or one who is practicing his skills in performance at eight to ten schools a week? Practice makes perfect, right?

So as the Spring continues to march steadily toward the summer, and as you seek out ideas for school assemblies, remember to do a little price shopping and don't fall for the best advertising or the smooth talking sales representative. And then, after you have checked out the competition, come and give Mobile Ed a look. We know what you will choose. Totally professional and high quality school shows, with a price structure that is as good or far better than anyone else out there. Go ahead. Shop around. We know you will find who offers the best deal. We know you will be back. Honest!


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Topics: portable planetarium, School Assemblies, Mobile Planetarium, Hands On Science, ideas for school assemblies, Earth Balloon