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Science Video of the Week! Local High School Students on Warp Speed

Nov 6, 2013

Welcome to the second Science Video of the Week feature! Each Wednesday I will post an interesting science video with some comments from either myself or the producer, and will conclude with some questions for discussion.

I started this feature for the Women in Film and Video of Washington, DC email list, and any responses I list are from people in that group. Feel free to add your own comments below!

If you created a science video you would like to share, especially ones that had interesting challenges you’d like to discuss, send it to me and we can chat a little about how you approached the production!

Before you watch the video:

High school students at West Potomac Academy in Alexandria created a video about the possibility of faster-than-light travel in their television production class, taught by WIFV member Nancy Mantelli. Their video was featured on an episode of EIC TV News. The Entertainment Industry Council (EIC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing understanding of health and social issues through entertainment media. Lately, they have also been working to promote all aspects of science, engineering, and technology. The students’ video starts at the 6-minute mark.

After you watch the video:

According to Nancy, some of the challenges the students had were time management, learning how to research the topic, and figuring out how to reduce the information into key points that flowed together. One of the challenges Nancy faces in instructing the students is getting them to clarify the focus of their projects. She’ll ask the students “Why?” over and over until they get to the root cause for their video. (Why do you want to do a video on warp speed? Because I like Star Trek. Why? Because it’s cool to go into space. Well, why? Because very few people have gone there. Why is that? Because you have to have a lot of education, technology, and equipment.) Then she’ll repeatedly ask the students “How?” until they work through a plan for researching and making the video.


Do you have some interesting examples of when asking yourself simple questions like “Why?” and “How?” really helped you develop a video? What benefits do you think there might be to having high school students produce science videos?


No responses this week, but regarding the value of teaching video production to high schoolers, Nancy said: “Sometimes there isn’t enough time in the curriculum to teach students over and above what they need in a professional work place. … It’s the critical thinking and creativity I don’t think they always get. … I am lucky enough to be teaching a 21st century technology skill that allows me to make [the students] uncomfortable, which makes them think on a deeper level, which makes their videos creative and interesting.”

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