Science Challenge Videos

yscstage.jpgHopefully by now, you have noticed our Young Scientist Challenge for 5th through 8th graders open until June 15th. But maybe you don’t know that there is also an “Old” Scientist Challenge going on at the same time for science teachers who are DEN members. Forget the students! Put your own 1 to 2 minute video together describing one of five scientific topics and compete for an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. and a chance to be named the DEN’s Science Teacher of the Year.
OK, so don’t forget the students, but take their inspiration and editing savvy and apply it to your own set of video topics. Creativity and overall presentation make up half of the point scale! Graduates of the AFI’s Door Scene exercise should be familiar with my following advice.
yscmyth.jpg-Plan to shoot your video as if it were a classroom demonstration, though it definitely does not have to be set in a classroom or lab. This is your foundation.
-Now, storyboard to think your illustrations through.
-Establishing shot(s)/introduction: tell us which topic you’ve chosen and maybe why.
-Have some footage showing this in everyday life.
-Grab a frame or shoot a still that you can add arrows or highlights to.
-Get some close-ups, maybe even extreme close ups.
-Find another angle that gives a different point of view.
-Would a wider angle establish some context or give an overall look at what happens?
-Don’t get carried away with transitions. None is always better than too many or ones that distract from the story. They should always have a reason – like the passage of time perhaps.
-Keep text to a minimum. This is not a term paper.
-Be safe. Follow the rules.
yscsteps.jpgIn my next installment we’ll look at the sample videos that are posted. Now these were shot on the fly. They are one take, one shot demonstrations, probably part of the finals competition last year. There was no opportunity for editing. Taking them as submission videos instead, we will look at how different shots and angles could be used to augment the message and give a better look at what actually is going on.


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  1. Hall Davidson said:

    Great post, Joe. And watch for the webinars Discovery is setting up to show the entry ropes to teachers who are thinking about participating. It won’t be all geeky and should be fun. The science topics all have backyard or kitchen demo potential. You don’t even have to blow anything up! Although it’s possible….I’ll be hosting them and I hope you come! Dates to follow in a couple of days.

  2. Teryl Magee, TN DEN LC said:

    Hall is hosting and nothing geeky involved…what are you saying about us, the DENners, Hall? Should that be a compliment or a slap in the face? : )

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