Linking to digital and creative media in science
Although there are no direct links between the science and creative and digital media specifications, there are opportunities to engage students following this vocational course by illustrating how, in the real world, a knowledge of science can be very advantageous when looking for careers in this sector. You can also adapt teaching strategies to give students the opportunity to practise the skills they are learning in their creative and digital media courses.
The resources below offer a starting point for this, with ideas which can be incorporated into the existing scheme of work.
Links and Resources
Capture your students' interest with a display illustrating careers in science communication.
Students will be surprised to learn that qualifications in science and digital and creative media go very well together, leading to some great career opportunities.
Producer/director Alex Tate studied zoology at university and then took a master’s in Science Communication, with a focus on science media production. He now travels the world, combining his love of science with his skills in creative media. His varied job involves script writing, working with graphic designers, animation companies and music composers, not to mention winning a BAFTA.
Why not introduce a topic based around cutting edge science or ethical issues with a quote from David Reay, Science Journalist for the Times?
“Every piece of research is based on the scientist saying, ‘I want to discover something new that’s making an impact on the world’. We’re the people who have to turn that into copy and get the message across."
Challenge your students to use their skills in creative media to present a complex scientific topic to the general public.
You can use elements of this resource to prepare them for the task - the activities and film clips are taken directly from the highly prestigious and successful Young Journalists’ Academy summer school, which focused on biomedical issues in the media in 2012.
Every year, the YJA has run an annual summer school for London state-school students who have the potential, but lack the ‘right contacts’, to break into journalism. Working with many of the leading journalists in the UK, over 90 per cent of graduates of the summer school , all from state schools, go on to do further work in the media.
This should certainly grab the attention of students wanting a career in this field.
Along with activities, there are plenty of top tips and concrete pieces of advice from leading science journalists for writing and broadcasting about scientific issues .
In this film, freelance science writer Helen Carmichael talks about writing on a range of topics and for different audiences. She describes how she combines her knowledge of science with skills in researching and presenting information to produce an engaging science-based story.
"It's your job as a journalist to find the interesting angle within any topic. So, for example, this is an article I wrote for a teenage magazine called Flipside that you might be familiar with. This was all about special effects in the movies. I talked to a couple of people who were making up special effects on movie sets for this article and what I realised as I spoke to them was you have to know a lot about science to actually be a good technician on a movie."
The film makes a great introduction to the activities above, and you could provide plenty of different styles of science communication articles and information for students to look at and work in groups to identify the key features of each style.
Using an emotive article or blog to introduce a topic is a great way to engage students with an interest in communications and media, and to develop their literacy skills by analysing the language used.
In this case study, with the agreement of the local community newspaper, students were given the opportunity to write up a science-based news story for publication.
You could do something similar with your local newspaper or link up with a website which publishes blogs on scientific issues.
There were a number of noteworthy features of the work. Unlike activities where, for example, all students write an article for homework or for a competition, this project tried to encourage the class to work as a team to produce the news story. In addition there was collaboration with the newspaper; the journalist visited the science class and talked with the pupils about how to approach the task.
These Debating Matters resources are a good place to start to look for articles related to the curriculum (listed in the essential reading section, and chosen for their bias and emotive language!)
Simon Cam is a digital designer, working on interactive video production for an advertising agency. This Department for Education clip shows the importance of science and mathematics in a range of creative industries.
Simon works with film, special effects and 3D graphics, to develop a range of visual effects for the creative industries. This is as varied as creating an online 3D game to shooting a piece of film with miniature body cameras.
Simon describes his use of science and mathematics, "Even though I work in what is typically considered a creative field, my maths and science background has already helped me with the technical side of my career. If you’re creative, but also like maths and science, then this is the perfect job for you.”
From the Institute of Physics, this seven minute film showcases how an understanding of forces and motion is required to develop certain video games. It looks at the work of a company which develops computer models that ensure objects and people in video games adhere to real world laws of motion. The work is an exciting application of physics and mathematics.
As well as showing their work, the video describes the motion of objects. This includes brief descriptions of unbalanced forces, movement, velocity, gravity, momentum and collisions. These descriptions help show the real-life application of motion equations.
If any student is interested in a career in the computer games industry, then they'll be interested in physics and maths too after reading this, so put it on the wall!
Alternatively it makes a great introduction to motion, momentum and forces, together with the film above.
This very readable article looks at how computer games make increasingly sophisticated use of the laws of physics to produce convincing on-screen effects. From calculating the angle that a ball bounces off a wall to modelling the frictional forces on a rally car, physics has always played a part in the development of computer games.
This article also looks at how Newton's laws of motion are used in computer games. You could use it a source material for activities or questions about velocity and acceleration after watching the film.
There are not many digital media companies as successful as Google! So why not use their offices in California as a context for introducing a lesson on energy sources and renewable energy?
The first six minutes of this film explain how Google uses biodiesel in company shuttle buses, incentives for staff to buy hybrid cars, and solar power to generate 30% of their energy needs.