Students experience the motion of the huge “Thought Launcher” sculpture. Photo by Paula Schaper

‘The Universe Within,’ a world-building course developed by art and education nonprofit Mat Bevel Company (MBC), has launched at the Patagonia Elementary School. The course was inspired by MBC President Ned Schaper’s magical world of Beveldom. 

Taught by Science and Math Teacher David Clovesko-Wharton, third and fourth graders at the School are the first students to participate in ‘The 

Universe Within’ curriculum, which launched with a field trip to Schaper’s Museum Of Kinetic Art in Tucson. Students enjoyed a “Welcome to Beveldom” program, then a tour of the museum.

The course was developed to address a national creative intelligence deficit. The premise of the course is that genius and creativity are not so much about IQ as employing daily practices to solve problems. It also fits into STEAM, an approach that uses science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. 

Five course modules have been integrated that align with Arizona state standards – The Daily Doodle, Corrugated Headgear, The Art of Kinetics, Digital Story Book, and Exhibition & Pedestrian Carnival. “The approach used to engage students targets their natural curiosity and imagination,” Patagonia Public Schools Superintendent Rachell 

Hochheim said.

Dr. Bruce Bayly, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Arizona, works with MBC to translate the world of Beveldom into science and math lessons. Dr. Mark Runco, Faculty at Southern Oregon University, is assessing students’ before and after coursework. A new interactive 3D creativity assessment was developed on the iPad, with support from Patagonia Regional Community Fund (PRCF). Other major sponsors for development of the curriculum include South32, Arizona Commission on the Arts and Doug and Mary Rogers

Paula Schaper, Vice President and Executive Director, who works from MBC’s Patagonia location, says she is already receiving requests for the curriculum from others in Southern Arizona and “going forward, we hope individuals, corporations and foundations will continue to support new dimensions of ‘The Universe Within.’ In school year 2019-2020, the curriculum will extend to more ages, subjects and schools.” 

For more information, contact Paula Schaper at 520-604-6273, email at, or visit