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HHMI Releases Four New Short Films on Science

Summary

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is adding four new films to its award-winning catalog of short science documentaries for the classroom.

 

Highlights

  • Three of the new films are part of HHMI’s The Origin of Species series, which tells the stories of pioneering naturalists who have traveled the world, from the famed Galápagos Islands to the Malay Archipelago, to understand how new species form. The fourth film is part of a new series called Great Discoveries in Science.
  • HHMI’s Educational Resources Group has developed an extensive set of teaching materials that will help teachers use the films. 
  • The new films will make their debut at the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 20.  

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is adding four new films to its award-winning catalog of short science documentaries for the classroom.

Produced by leading documentary filmmakers and freely available on DVD, and to stream or download from HHMI’s BioInteractive website www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/shortfilms, these short films are bringing some of the best and most important stories in science to very large numbers of students. “A key premise of the short classroom film effort is that the story-telling power of film combines with the teacher’s ability to prepare students for the key concepts in the film,” said Sean B. Carroll, HHMI vice president for science education and the films’ executive producer.

Watch short clips of the films here:

Three of the new films are part of HHMI’s The Origin of Species series, which tells the stories of pioneering naturalists who have traveled the world, from the famed Galápagos Islands to the Malay Archipelago, to understand how new species form. The Making of a Theory chronicles the epic voyages of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace that led each to independently discover the natural origin of species and to formulate the theory of evolution by natural selection. The Beak of the Finch highlights four decades of field research by Princeton University biologists Rosemary and Peter Grant on the famed Galápagos finches. Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree follows research in the Caribbean islands by Harvard University biologist Jonathan Losos, who has discovered the traits that enable dozens of anole species to adapt to different vertical niches in the forest.

The fourth film is part of a new series called Great Discoveries in Science. Hosted by award-winning science writer and evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson, The Double Helix is the story of the scientists and evidence involved in one of the most important scientific quests of the 20th century: the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Carroll will introduce two of the films, The Making of a Theory and The Beak of the Finch, to teachers at the third annual HHMI Night at the Movies at the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on Nov. 20. Following the films, he will host a discussion with teachers attending the conference. The other two films, Lizards in an Evolutionary Tree and The Double Helix, will make their debuts at several of the conference’s workshops for teachers.

HHMI’s Educational Resources Group has developed an extensive set of teaching materials that will help teachers use the films. All the resources are freely available on the BioInteractive.org website. “The films’ contents are built upon through additional classroom discussion, activities, and further study. To maximize classroom impact, it is crucial to provide teachers with various supplements and media to support the use of the films in addressing key topics in the curriculum,” said Carroll.

Carroll notes that to date, several million students have viewed previously released films and well over one-half million teacher supplements have been distributed or downloaded.

HHMI’s short films have won several awards, including Best Short Program at the Jackson Hole Science Media Awards and First Place in the Science and Technology category at the New Media Film Festival.

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The Howard Hughes Medical Institute plays a powerful role in advancing scientific research and education in the United States. Its scientists, located across the United States and around the world, have made important discoveries that advance both human health and fundamental understanding of biology. The Institute also aims to transform science education into a creative, interdisciplinary endeavor that accurately reflects the excitement of scientific research. http://www.hhmi.org

For More Information

Jim Keeley
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Robert Gutnikoff
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