Metaphor, simile, parable, allegory….these are words that we recognize as the lexicon of the Humanities folk rather than the Science geeks. When we science nerds do employ video to help our students learn, we often rely on the “science-y” ones alone, often almost pathetically titled by some soul struggling to make them sound irresistible: “Translating the Code: Protein Synthesis.” Sign me up for that!
Here’s a trick that I like to use when introducing the daunting topic of cell physiology. My students have just finished their first exam in the previous hour and are typically tired from lack of sleep, stressed about their performance on the test, and frightened by the length and complexity of the cell physiology chapter in their text. So I show them this clip:
Next, a slide of a puzzled baby, asking “Now why would she show us that?”
(Long pause for response….someone usually hazards a pretty good guess.)
Now, I show them this clip from Harvard Biovisions by StudioDaily (cue ooohs and aaahs):
After watching both videos, students are able to tell me how the two are alike, and they begin to understand, without much prodding from me, that the workings of our cells are fascinating, complex, and, like the workings of that fabulous Coke machine, completely hidden from our senses.
Finally, I promise that by the end of the week, they will be able to identify almost everything in the Harvard video. We often sneek a second peek at the Coke video as well, and the class has fun making analogies to cellular processes with their newly acquired knoweldge.
Do you have favorite videos that you use to invite your students into the wonders of your discipline? How do you use them?