RIT graduate student launches pilot episode of ‘ScienceLore’ educational series
Chelsea DeMott Wildey and team use 2D and 3D animation to create impact-driven media
RIT graduate student Chelsea DeMott Wildey believes that some of the most effective learning takes place using impact-driven media—identifying the knowledge, skills, and attributes that young learners need to acquire to influence the societal concerns of today and tomorrow.
The ScienceLore Team
As a result, DeMott Wildey and her student team have developed the pilot episode of ScienceLore, an educational series about the history and perception of animals as they relate to mythology and lore. The owl is wise, the lion is brave, and an elephant never forgets—but where do these notions come from? And is there a scientific component that supports it?
“ScienceLore, which is ideal for kids ages 5-8, is designed to leave options open when it comes to education,” explained DeMott Wildey, a second-year graduate student in RIT’s School of Film and Animation from Caledonia, N.Y. “At this stage of their educational development, kids tend to silo themselves and focus on what they’re good at. They begin limiting themselves when it comes to their education. They believe they are only good at science or art, for example, not both. ScienceLore combines traditional artistic interests and science, helping kids understand that they can enjoy both.”
The first Halloween-themed episode features the raven, a symbol of death and trickery, and its basis in Norse mythology, as well as a nod to the Haida people, an indigenous group who has traditionally occupied Haida Gwaii in Canada for at least 12,500 years. The episode script, layout, character design, and costuming include several Haida references. Future episodes will run between 5 and 10 minutes each.
The ScienceLore Team
ScienceLore was developed through RIT’s MAGIC Maker Program, which provides students with the funding and support to manage their own digital media projects and prepare them for publication and investment-readiness. DeMott Wildey and her team of nine students from a variety of disciplines worked on the project from May through August and launched mid-September.
Aaron Nieboer, MAGIC production associate and executive producer of ScienceLore, believes that it has come to be known as one of the best projects in the history of the MAGIC Maker program.
“The team was an incredible roster of highly capable students who followed a well thought out production schedule, and their project aligned well with our mission of ‘we learn by making things,’” he said. “I am incredibly proud to see the progress they’ve made while in the program, as well as their future plans to market and distribute more episodes to bring this to a broader audience.”
As for the project’s future, DeMott Wildey will be arranging campus screenings and submitting it to film festivals. She also has plans to develop a grassroots program to share the project with libraries and school districts to create a curricular component for the classroom in which the youngsters conduct the research as topics for the program.
“This is a really fun and unique way to tell stories, while satisfying my personal passion for introducing interactive learning to young people that is encouraging and empowering,” added DeMott Wildey.