Table of Contents
- Format of the short (less than 2 minutes each) movies
- Format of the Discussion Guide
- Exploring the unique benefits of integrating very short movies into your regular lesson plan, either as a lesson-opening activity or to jump-start a discussion.
Scientific Living is a classroom science resource centered around short (less than two minutes each) digital movies. They provide a lesson-opening activity or "hook" for student interest and discussion that can be integrated with your regular lesson plan. The segments are edited by leading scientists and aligned with National Science Education Standards. The subject of the first series of 20 episodes is space exploration/astronomy because science educators have chosen astronomy as their top priority for greater emphasis in K-12 science classrooms. The program will continue with another series on weather/meteorology, followed by earth science/geology, and a host of other science topics. The goal is to create a growing database of short science movies for "on demand" access through the schools’ own computer network.
- Format of the videos
The movies can be downloaded to your classroom computer and viewed on your computer monitor (or a projection screen). They are digital files in the MPEG digital format and provide VHS quality. There is also a "small" movie for each episode, which is exactly the same movie in a small frame with low resolution. It provides a quick download for teachers who want a preview before downloading the VHS quality. You will need the Quicktime 6 (or equivalent) media player to view any movie. The Quicktime 6 media player is available as a free download. (Click here.)
(Also, see the "script" pages for an even quicker way to review the script of a given movie, and determine whether it can be integrated with your lesson plan.)
- Format of the Discussion Guide
(Consisting of one discussion sheet and one script sheet for each episode.)
Discussion sheets: Each classroom discussion sheet can be downloaded as a PDF file, and each is numbered to match its corresponding episode. (Print them to make a hard copy.) Like the movies, each discussion sheet is short - one page for each episode - in order to encourage flexibility. Scientific Living is not designed to dominate the lesson period, but rather as a discussion-starter or lesson-opening activity that teachers can integrate with their regular lesson plan. The discussion can be based on grade level, and taken anywhere you like, adapted to your needs.
Script sheets: Each "script" sheet is also a single page and numbered to match its corresponding episode. It includes a complete script for each episode, which provides a quick and easy way for teachers to review the episodes without having to download and review the video. The scripts are only a few paragraphs long, allowing teachers to quickly decide whether an episode fits their lesson plan, or can be woven into the subject of their lesson plan, based on grade level.
Each script sheet also includes:
A listing of the Relevant NSES Standards (National Science Education Standards) that apply to each episode. The linkage to NSES Standards is also broken down by grade levels.
In addition, the following NSES Standards apply to all episodes:
- NSES Teaching Standard B: Orchestrate discourse among students about scientific ideas. (Program assists in promoting student discussion.)
- NSES Unifying concepts and processes in science: (Grades K-12) Using unifying concepts and processes to align the focus of discussion with other content standards at different grade levels.
- Exploring the unique benefits of integrating very short videos into your regular lesson plan, either as a lesson-opening activity or to jump-start a discussion.
The short length of the videos is their innovative feature. Each segment is a complete story. And yet, each segment is less than two minutes long. The idea is to use short science stories as multimedia elements that capture interest, while leaving the teacher’s regular lesson plan intact. It’s a new option in the classroom for teachers who don’t have time for longer videos, and a new level of flexibility as a supplement to elementary and secondary science curricula. As a result, the short video format is now in high demand by educators simply because it offers teachers an entirely new set of options:
- It enables teachers who otherwise would use no video at all to include video in their mix of activities, adding an element of variety and visual interest to the lesson period.
- It allows teachers to maintain control of the classroom teaching environment. There’s no need to "turn out the lights."
- Short story narratives are designed as a spark for student discussion. They can be used as a lesson-opening activity, or to jump-start a discussion that can be integrated with the regular lesson plan.
- The short format allows for quicker downloads and takes up relatively little disk space.
- Short formats allow teachers more flexibility. For example, a discussion sheet on each video is included, but the discussion sheets are also short to promote this flexibility.
Finally, short story narratives are meant to capture the interest of a wide spectrum of students, including average students with no special interest in science, and perhaps a short attention span. In this sense, they’re also designed to capture the interest of students in a wider range of age groups.