Inside the Burrow of Science

Inside the Burrow of Science

2021

Credits:

• Visual Direction, Video Editing, Cinematography - Zach Duer
• Video Editing, Cat Drawings, Performance - Linus Duer, Oscar Duer
• Music - Charles Nichols
• Vocals - Arianna Wyatt
• Poetry - Erika Meitner
• Inspiration - Vanessa Diaz

Publications:

Sponsored by:

• VT Center for Communicating Science

(In Progress)

This experimental interdisciplinary research probes children's understanding of their relationship to the concepts of "scientist" and "artist." We build on the research of Vanessa Diaz et al who created an outreach program to demonstrate to kindergarten girls that they can be scientists. In this program, "Girls Launch! Kindergarten Science Outreach Continuation and Expansion," they filmed 10 graduate women researchers talking about their work, and showed the videos to kindergartners.

In our collaboration, we set out to use artistic media to investigate how children think about art and science.

As a parent of two small children (5 and 7 at the time), I knew I needed to integrate them into this process. This was entirely new to my practice, and a little scary. I decided we would engage together in the filming and editing of a video. At the same time, Charles Nichols and Vanessa Diaz recorded two children, including one of Vanessa's drawing pictures of scientists. My children and I used these videos as raw materials in an "art science experiment."

My kids know that there's a difference between art and science because they've been told that there is. However, describing exactly what they are is difficult. They've been told at school that playing with baking soda and water is a science experiment, and that playing with colors is art work, so that's how they identify their activities. But in either case, they're playing. In their play, they investigate their materials. Oscar is more methodical, Linus more chaotic.

They also joined in the editing of the video. I showed them all the different effects in After Effects, and they got to choose which to apply and how to animate them, learning in the process about how the timeline works, and a little about keyframes and interpolation.

They're arting. They're sciencing. They're playing.

The title was also a turn of phrase by one of the child participants.

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