In Learning Science Through Slowmation (LSTL), understanding science is based on the use of models, representations, and other forms of visualization, in order to explain, clarify, and demonstrate complex or abstract phenomena. Team leaders create digital narratives using the technique of slowmation (2 photographs per second) and “animate” science concepts and phenomena through inspired heroes and their adventures in scripts that they develop, re-contextualizing science teaching and learning. Team leaders use this method to introduce new ways of teaching and communicating science, representing still images, text, sounds, transforming them, and connecting them through this incorporation process. Participants use technology to represent their constructions of science concepts and design and construct narrated slowmation to present their scientific knowledge. Slowmation integrates features from digital storytelling, claymation, object and stop-motion animation and engages participants with scientific concepts in multiple and transformative ways, creating links as a semiotic progression. Participants can create 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional models in a model studio.
The main aim of the LSTL approach is to give the opportunity for participants to develop a narrative using digital technology and slowmation techniques, to help understand and share specific scientific concepts and knowledge.
The LSTS’s specific objectives are to:
- Get participants interested in science and research through the use of innovative methods
- Teach participants how to develop a digital narrative relevant to a scientific topic
- Initiate contact between participants and other professionals (for example artists)
- Engage the general public
Moreover, LSTS participants’ needs to:
- develop abilities and the understanding necessary for scientific inquiry
- identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations
- design and constuct narratives relevant to scientific concepts and issues
- use technology to improve investigations, communications, and the development of slowmation videos
- initiate their creativity and imagination and create links with science education
- recognize, analyze and imagine alternative explanations and models
- communicate a scientific argument or issue in a creative way
- develop lifelong learning skills
- develop attitudes befitting a scientific ethos
- link with science and society in a personal context
The initiative is implemented over a period of 5 months, which includes the required time to create the videos and prepare for the final contest-like event. The participants work closely with the team leader(s) responsible for the project, on a regular basis during these months, following the inquiry framework. The number of meet-ups is up to the participants but in general once a week is suggested.
In addition, a series of workshops are scheduled by the coordinating & support team, so that the progress of the animations can be monitored and the quality of the final output can be guaranteed. Finally, extra dissemination/promotion activities are to be carried out by the participants, which will bridge the output with the local community.
Main Event Duration: depending on the participating teams
Project Duration: Several Months
The main event where the slowmation movie are shown is to occur in front of a large audience and can last for several hours, depending on the teams that participate.
The period of preparation for the main slowmation movie is 5 months.
2.1 Staff & Volunteers
Since the initiative is to be implemented on a large scale and engages several teams, coordinating staff is required to closely monitor the activities. The staff is there to also ensure that the main milestones are reached on time and to facilitate the major event, showcasing all of the slowmation movies.
There is the need for pedagogical, artistic, and scientific expertise to be injected into the activities, thus, input from experts in these fields should be offered to support the work occurring within the participating groups. These experts can be approached either by the coordinating staff or the team leader.
A person is required to drive the team and support participants in their endeavor. He/she will handle any immediate needs and questions that the participants have and connect with the support team to ensure the best results possible. In case of a major event with many teams, the team leaders will act as a judge for the videos in order to help decide on the awards to be given.
Dissemination / Promotion team (by the participants)
Adding to this, the participants are designated to lead dissemination/promotion activities that will provide them with the support of the local community. This kind of support can either be translated into materialized support (sponsors, money, transportation etc), ethical support, or it can be in the form of expertise that will enhance the quality of the slowmation video.
2.2 Venue Hire
Capacity: Ideally, the venues for the final event should be theaters with large capacity.
2.3 Partner Institutions
Partner Institutions: Not required but sometimes recommended
Project Budget: up to 26,500
The materials that participants may use are play dough, coloured cartons, pictures, drawings, existing game models, toys, natural and everyday materials, cutouts etc. Participants use their own still photo camera or mobile phone camera with HD quality to take pictures. They create sounds and produce recordings with their phone recorder or their laptop recorder in order to enhance the explanation of a science concept by adding dialogues, music or natural sounds. Finally, they use their own laptops with movie maker or i-movie software installed to edit the developed digital narrative.
The project at the teams-level is highly recommended to be self-funded, meaning that the participants will be engaged in approaching contributors for the realization of their performance – the aid can be monetary or provision of materials needed.
- Personnel Fees (coordination and support teams) (Section 2.1) €0 – €10,000
- Event materials/printing €0 – €2000
- Four-color brochure with instructions – examples of implementation
- Brochure leaflet A5 – Announcement / Promotion of Action
- Schedule of events
- Poster four-color
- Roll up banner
- One-leaf brochure – Events
- Jury Assessment Forms
- Participation & jury credentials
- Publicity, communication & promotion costs (website, radio production, shooting & video
- production for each show and a general video of the action) €0 – €6,000
- Travel (to support the action nation-wide) €0 – €2,000
- Venue €0 – €1,500
- Catering (workshops & event) €0 – €2,000
- Transport groups of participants at the venues of the final events €0 – €2,500
- Expenditure on rental and technical maintenance of venue for the event €0 – €3,000
3.1 Target Audience
Direct Audience: There are no restraints in the age frame; however, it is suggested that the participants within the team are around the same age so that the dynamics of the working group are optimal and the activities follow a smooth pace that everyone can follow.
Indirect Audience: General audience, which participate as viewers in the final events or may be supporters of the whole procedure by contributing in any means possible.
The dissemination activities will be run in a two scale front – by the coordinating team and by the participating teams as well.
- Project dissemination:
- Slowmation movies dissemination
The coordinating team will be in charge of the general dissemination following two phases:
a) Targeted dissemination phase: enrichment of the project’s website with news articles; publish a number of newsletters and brochures; and present preliminary the work that is being done (e.g. highlights from the working groups meetings or performances trailers) to target audiences.
b) Outreach phase: this represents the period closely before the final event, when partners will start finalizing their performance. This phase will be focused on informing the target audience through utilizing all means possible for disseminating the event.
The dissemination of the slowmation movie at a local level is meant to be run by participants. That means that no money is needed for personnel and also that the success lies in the fact that the participants bound to the local community can easily utilize their links to achieve the most optimal outreach.
3.3 Dialogic Strategy
The Learning Science Through Slowmation initiative lies in the compendium of art and science. It is exactly the marriage of these two that gives off an effective way of communicating scientific concepts in the most entertaining way. By targeting an audience and striving to perform successfully, the output – the scientific knowledge approached – is transformed into a communicative means of spreading scientific literature. The scientific concept is guaranteed by the experts that overview the activity and the artistic elements give new communicational dimensions.
4.1 Project Timeline
Timetable for managing a large scale event:
- M1 – M4: Registrations
- M2: 1st educational workshop for team leaders
- M3: 2nd educational workshop for team leaders – Teams informed about the days and time of preparing the activity – Announcement of the venues for the final events
- M4: 3rd educational workshop for team leaders (online)* – participants provide information about difficulties in participating the final events
- M4 – M5: Collaboration with the specialists’ team (pedagogical – artistic support)
- M5: 4th educational workshop for team leaders (online)*
- M6: Finalization of the event organisation
- M7: Final event with slowmation movie contest
Implementation of milestones:
- M4: End of registrations
- M5: Judges registration
- M5: Filling in of the observation form (1st time)
- M6: Deadline for submitting the required documents (final script, contributors form, report of promotion actions etc)
- M6: Sending of the participants consent forms for the recording during the final events.
- M6: Sending of the contributors form and the final script for the teams that participate in the events.
- M7: Submission of the report of the promotion actions for the performances
- M7: final event – Awards
- M8: Deliver of the observation form (2nd time) & form of Assessing the activity
4.2 Single Event Structure
Structure of the workshops to be implemented for training the team leaders:
ii) Team meetings – the roadmap:
Month 1: Develop interest in engaging with scientific topics and slowmation production techniques. They form a general group, depending on their interest in participating in the project. They search the internet to find relevant information about the scientific topic/issue they have chosen.
Months 2-3: Acquire a deeper understanding of the topics examined and come up with a basic theatrical script. Together with their group members, they will make a plan elaborating on the preparation of the slowmation video production and split into subgroups. They form stories/scenarios based on scientific findings and work on possible scripts and the structure of the production.
Month 4: Contact the professionals to discuss their script, music and direction. They become aware of what it’s like to work creatively, using their imagination and their findings in order to compose innovative theatrical performances. They explore alternative solutions and creative ways to express their arguments.
Month 5: Finalise their production one month before the final Event.
Participants are engaged in inter-workgroup assessment processes throughout the preparation phase. They define the assessment criteria that instigates the reflection processes, engaging members of the same group to strengthen their arguments.
The LSTS approach is based on the respect for participants’ needs and interests as a cornerstone for its successful realisation. The selection of the main topic and the exploration of relevant issues depend on participants. During the inquiry phase all participants will participate and contribute with relevance to their required data.
Key Concepts and Terminology
Maths, Geometry, Physics, Newtonian physics, nuclear physics, astronomy, big bang theory, biology, criminology
Direction, script, music, video editing.
During the sessions, participants will deepen their understanding of scientific concepts and phenomena, using their creativity and imagination.
Phase 1: QUESTION – participants investigate a scientifically oriented question
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Phase 2: EVIDENCE – participants give priority to evidence
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Phase 3: ANALYSE – participants analyse evidence
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Phase 4: EXPLAIN – participants formulate an explanation based on evidence
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Phase 5: CONNECT – participants connect explanations to scientific knowledge
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COMMUNICATE – participants communicate and justify explanation
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REFLECT – participants reflect on the inquiry process and their learning
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iii) Performances: all the way to the major event
Team leaders and participants are called to decide upon the actions they will include in their activity and then elaborate the roles and responsibilities. Every team can take up and implement some (if not all) of the actions related to the shooting and development of a slowmation movie. It is recommended that the participants are divided in working groups according to the activities they want to be involved in.
The participants, according to their interests, can participate in more than one team. At the end of the activity, every team in collaboration with the responsible team leaders will be called to submit a document outlining the contributors of the performance, as well as a report describing all the promoting actions the team implemented. Also, the team leaders during two stages of the activity will be called to fill in the observation form. This is about the capturing – writing down their experience since the first moment of the activity, describing how the scientific concepts were represented, what techniques were used, examples that highlighted the creativity (imagination, innovation, originality). Such a document is especially important for the scientific/pedagogical assessment of the whole process.
During the activity, the organizing team and special collaborators (scientists as well as directors/musicians/dancers) will observe the process and provide valuable support to the participants in the form of:
Workshops for team leaders and participants
The support is about the pedagogical part of the activity and the script that will be developed as well as the directing/artistic part and will go on up to 2 weeks before the final event.
When the team leaders finalize the days and hours in which they will engage with the participants for the activity, the organizing team must be informed so that the team visits and the online meetings can be scheduled for every team.
The events: Preparation
1 month before the final event, the specifications of the venue (size, visual and sound equipment etc) will be announced. Important clarification: In case of a team using audiovisual material from the internet, the license of use should be checked.
After contacting all responsible team leaders, the programme of the events will be announced. In order for these to be finalized, 2 months before the final events the teams will be informed about the hours of running them (eg Saturday 11.00-17.00, Sunday 12.00-16.00) and asked to register if any difficulties occur in their participation at the time and day of their performance so that arrangements will be made. The final program will be concluded after reviewing the above.
From there on, no further changes will be made.
Finally, it should be noted that because of the final events being recorded, a special form of consent should be sent prior to the event to all participating teams, and must be signed by the parents of the participating participants.
The events: realizing
The duration of each event is 2 days. The exact time will be set according to the number of the participating teams as well as the duration of the slowmation movies. It will be open to the public to watch. Participants and team leaders must arrive to the venue at the time indicated to them by the organizers. Every team can watch all the videos of the event, both days.
4.3 Personnel roles
1. Personnel required for a workshop with team leaders:
The coordination and the support teams are needed to fully attend the workshops with the leaders in order to set the landscape for a fruitful collaboration. They both will present their part regarding the initiative implementation – the coordination team for the whole organization and the timetable, the support team their expertise’s input.
2. Personnel required for the slowmation movie contest event:
- 1 person as secretary
- 1 presenter
- 1 technician
- 1 person for collecting the grading sheets and collating the results for deciding the awards
The material needed to be reserved by the coordinating team mainly refers to the technical equipment such as beamer, PCs or laptops, etc.
Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE) is a method of teaching and learning that focuses on use of questions, problems, and educational scenarios used to engage participants in concepts of science and support their acquisition of scientific knowledge and skills. This is achieved through their active participation in activities that make sense to the participants, chiefly due to the fact that they are largely initiated by participants themselves. They understand in-depth the scientific concepts through their own perception of the world that surrounds them and through their own experiences and reflective processes. In LSTS science and the arts are intertwined. The interaction between these fields within IBSE requires creative solutions and initiates interest and better understanding of scientific concepts.
The slowmation movies are evaluated by an evaluation panel of academics, science team leaders, directors, musicians (50%) and 1 team leader and 1 participant from team (50%). Awards for different categories are given to the teams. These include:
- Best Movie
- Best Scenario
- Best Direction
- Best Soundtrack
Both quantitative and qualitative data are required to assess participants’ and team leaders’ cognitive and creative development through the implementation of the LSTS.
For quantitative assessment we recommend the use of the ‘Science Motivation Questionnaire II (SMQ-II)’ (Glynn, et al., 2011; Maximiliane, Schumm, Bogner, 2016) that is addressed to participants and the ‘VALNET’ questionnaire addressed to team leaders.
Regarding qualitative assessment, each group of participants will be provided with a questionnaire that includes questions about their level of enjoyment, comparisons to more traditional teaching methods, etc. More specifically, since “Entertainment” is an important part of a movie, it is worth mentioning that participants will retain their interest throughout and will enjoy the whole procedure (Smyrnaiou Z., Sotiriou M., Georgakopoulou E., Papadopoulou E., 2016).
The questionnaire will also include questions regarding: a) representation of scientific content/generation of meaning, b) communication between participants, c) entertainment of the audience.
Each group of participants will be expected to conduct a report about their experience from the first moment of involvement until the implementation of the action, recording on how they represented scientific concepts, what theater techniques they used, significant episodes that demonstrated their creativity (imagination, innovation, uniqueness), their improvisation and also some significant moves (embodied movements) that they used for the representation of scientific knowledge. Team leaders are expected to fill an observation rubric, which is significantly important about the scientific and pedagogical evaluation of the whole procedure. This rubric includes the following questions:
What was the starting point for writing the script? Did you use an existing script? Did you start from the slowmation techniques or from the scientific content? Describe.
Record two or three important events that demonstrate the creativity of the participants (the concept of creativity is associated with imagination, originality, innovation).
Outline the participants’ cognitive path/process, indicating 2-3 examples in each category:
- Initial ideas that remained constant
- Initial ideas that evolved
- Initial ideas that were rejected
- Important ideas that arose along with the action
Were there any points where participants self-corrected the way that they would represent the concept?
Were there any points where participants improvised? Indicate 2-3 important examples where participants deviated from what was agreed, but the final result was equally excellent.
The above rubric is then expected to be analysed using qualitative methodologies, resulting in three different categories of analysis:
The category of “Representation of scientific context/ meaning generation”
The category of “Communication
The category of “Entertainment”
(Smyrnaiou Z., Sotiriou M., Georgakopoulou E., Papadopoulou E., 2016)
Finally, the scenarios are expected to be observed by a scientist and an artist, who will then analyze the data collected from their observation .
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