1. Kristin Pederson
  2. STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
  3. Lineage
  4. https://www.pbs.org/tpt/when-whales-walked/
  5. Twin Cities PBS, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  1. Colleen Marzec
  2. Chief of Science Learning/Content Development
  3. Lineage
  4. https://www.pbs.org/tpt/when-whales-walked/
  5. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
  1. Michael Rosenfeld
  2. VP of National Productions
  3. Lineage
  4. https://www.pbs.org/tpt/when-whales-walked/
  5. Twin Cities PBS
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 4, 2020 | 03:32 p.m.

    Thank you for exploring Twin Cities PBS’ Lineage, a multi-year project that empowers families and children nationwide to learn about deep time. This initiative, produced in partnership with Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), includes a two-hour documentary  for PBS and the Smithsonian Channel titled When Whales Walked: Journeys in Deep Time; six new hands-on activities designed by the NMNH educators; a virtual reality game called Deep Time Detectives, and seven Family Fossil Festivals held at partner museums nationwide. The project’s knowledge-building study used these resources to determine how multimedia resources and intergenerational co-play can advance STEM learning. We welcome questions on any aspect of the project.

     
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    Bonny Ortiz-Andrade
  • Icon for: Alan Peterfreund

    Alan Peterfreund

    Facilitator
    May 4, 2020 | 05:57 p.m.

    Now I want to see the film.  What are some of the lessons learned that would inform comparable projects?

  • Icon for: Michael Rosenfeld

    Michael Rosenfeld

    Co-Presenter
    May 5, 2020 | 11:12 a.m.

    Thank you for your comment. We are very proud of the film and the extensive array of related educational activities. As far as lessons are concerned, I would cite three things, though I'm sure my colleagues can think of more. One is the importance of finding and engaging with highly knowledgeable and mission-driven partners. We were so fortunate to have the National Museum of Natural History as our principal partner; not only did they advise on scientific content, they designed a suite of museum-based activities that tied to the film and collaborated on the research study. Another is the importance of having a deep bench of advisors who bring not just expertise but passion for the project. Our advisors made the film better, and working with them was a daily pleasure. And perhaps most importantly, we learned that it pays enormous dividends to ensure that scientific experts who appear on camera come from diverse backgrounds. The film did well for its general audience but was particularly successful in reaching African American households. One of the best moments for me was when we received an email from one of our advisors in response to our rough cut. She wrote to thank us for assembling "such an articulate, intelligent and charismatic cast of scientists whose very faces challenge pre-existing biases and stereotypes of what a scientist looks like and who can become a scientist. These men and women are much-needed role models for girls and boys of all colors!"

  • Icon for: Patrick Honner

    Patrick Honner

    Facilitator
    May 5, 2020 | 09:29 a.m.

    This was clearly an ambitious and interesting project. I'm curious, how were the families selected to participate in the community-based learning activities? And were the education and outreach activities developed simultaneously with the film, or did the project emerge after the film was complete?

     
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    Michael I. Swart
  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 6, 2020 | 10:54 a.m.

    Hi Patrick, thank you for your questions! To answer the second one: the outreach activities were designed by museum educators and scientists at the NMNH, and were developed at the same time as the film was being produced. All project components were based on the same educational objectives and focused on the same animals, including the VR game (which only focused on the whale). Because the analog activities, digital game and film shared these critical features, as well as had the goal of engaging families around deep time exploration, they provided audiences with multiple ways to learn about key ideas. I have asked our research and evaluation leads to jump in on the first question you asked.  

     
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    Michael I. Swart
    Patrick Honner
  • Icon for: Jennifer Borland

    Jennifer Borland

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 01:30 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions Patrick.  Each of the outreach events were able to come up with their own plans to attract participants.  In some cases that included more traditional marketing and in some cases that included more reliance on existing partnerships with schools or other community organizations, and in some cases there was a good amount of reliance on the interest of audiences that are regularly attending these sites for educational resources/programming. For the evaluative studies that we conducted at each outreach site, we relied on the local event facilitators to identify up to six families ahead of time who'd be willing to put in a little more time to do the tasks we needed them to do (i.e., watching the film and playing the VR game in a certain order and then completing an interview). This process worked really well from a logistical standpoint because we were able to rely on the local facilitators' expertise and connections to find participants who were well-suited as participants for our studies. It was a great collaborative effort all around, and it was really awesome to get to see first-hand how amazing and unique each of the outreach events ended up being. 

     
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    Sasha Palmquist
    Patrick Honner
    Kristin Pederson
  • Icon for: Patrick Honner

    Patrick Honner

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 02:42 p.m.

    Thanks for the detailed responses. That's quite an enterprise, coordinating the development of outreach projects concurrently with the film production. And quite an opportunity!

  • Icon for: Debbie Siegel

    Debbie Siegel

    May 6, 2020 | 04:39 p.m.

    Hi Patrick, For the research part of the project, all of our work was conducted at the NMNH. For the majority of cases, we invited families from the museum floor to participate. We also sent out an email blast to museum members and a few member families signed up to participate. Though we were pulling from families' planned museum experience, they seemed to really enjoy these activities. 

     
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    Sasha Palmquist
  • Icon for: Leslie Koren

    Leslie Koren

    Assistant Professor of Media Arts
    May 5, 2020 | 05:49 p.m.

    As a filmmaker, I really enjoyed watching and learning about this topic through your video. I think everyone could benefit from learning more about deep time! Check out our page and mini documentary about innovations in calculus learning when you have time. Thanks! 

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 6, 2020 | 10:59 a.m.

    Thank you, we're glad you enjoyed the learning about the Lineage project, and we agree that deep time is a topic worthy of more exploration and attention!

  • May 6, 2020 | 12:24 a.m.

    This is a sensational project! I appreciate your efforts to engage audiences through a variety of digital and analog formats. I also enjoyed reading about one of Michael's a-ha moments in this discussion thread. Personally, I was pretty entertained in the video by seeing the little girl wearing the dinosaur skull. A future paleontologist in the making? You've certainly set the stage for that.

    What "a-ha" moments has the rest of the team experienced? Can you share some observations or feedback that have either informed the refinement of your materials, or indicated that you were on the right track? 

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 6, 2020 | 10:26 p.m.

    Hi Kristin! Thanks for your comment. Most of my "a-ha" moments centered around intergenerational learning. Watching children and parents interact around our content, I was reminded how critical it is as an educator (and frankly, as a mom!) to really sit back and let kids puzzle things out on their own, applying what they already know and what they are currently learning. I was so impressed by the parents who were able to simply ask questions ("Why do you think that?" "What do you think our next step might be?" "Should we look at this one more time together?"). Embracing and encouraging struggle and errors and "do-overs" is such an important skill in scientific inquiry, especially (as we also learned in TPT's SciGirls research) for girls. On the flip side, it was thrilling to often watch children lead parents through the VR gaming process--we have a lot to learn from our "digital native" kids! I look forward to future opportunities to support and encourage family-based learning.

  • Icon for: Jennifer Borland

    Jennifer Borland

    Researcher
    May 6, 2020 | 01:41 p.m.

    Hi Kristin (and full disclosure to everyone else: Kristin and I are colleagues at Rockman et al, but I didn't put her up to asking this great question).  I'll chime in with one of our big ah ha moments, from the perspective of our evaluative studies. We hypothesized that families who watched the film and then played the VR game would be better prepared to engage with the scientific concepts and have more vocabulary to discuss them.  We set up an evaluative study wherein half the families played the VR game and then watched the video, while the other half watched the video first and then played the VR Game. Because we were looking for an effect of video viewing on VR game-play, we designed our data collection efforts so that we were gathering family feedback after participants played the VR game (whether they did that before or after watching the video) -  and we were only briefly checking in with families after the video if they watched the video second.  However, based on that brief feedback and other anecdotal experiences in our first few rounds of data collection, we came to realize that there was an impact that the VR experience seemed to be having on the video-viewing experience. Specifically, it seemed that the experience of playing VR game made some participants more interested learning more about ancient whale ancestors by watching the video. The VR game piqued curiosity and the video helped to answer some of the lingering questions that participants had after their VR game-play experience. 

     
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    Sasha Palmquist
    Kristin Pederson
  • Icon for: Nicole Freidenfelds

    Nicole Freidenfelds

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 6, 2020 | 03:52 p.m.

    What an impressive project! I, too, now want to watch the film.

    I'm especially interested in the intergenerational component of your research. Did you observe any differences between the parents and children in their comfort with using technology? Did it appear that both parents and children gained similar benefits from the experience?

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 6, 2020 | 10:38 p.m.

    Thank you for your comment, Nicole! Please see my reply to Kristin Bass (above). Like you, I was really interested in the intergenerational approach to teaching and learning, and I did indeed see children often leading the way in using the hardware for the VR experience. More children than adults seemed to have experience in this area, likely from gaming. However, while many kids were high-tech, parents were "high-touch," by which I mean augmenting the experience with insightful questions, encouragement, patience and insight. I found it quite moving to watch families explore and question and learn together. It was also wonderful to observe the families where both the children AND the parents were absolute beginners with the technology--simply watching them problem-solve and make mistakes and try again, all while retaining their sense of humor and adventure, was inspiring!    

     
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    Nicole Freidenfelds
  • Icon for: Debbie Siegel

    Debbie Siegel

    May 8, 2020 | 06:50 p.m.

    Hi Nicole, Thanks for the questions. Building on Kristen, there was some variation in family members' comfort with the technology. But like Kristin said, children often did seem to be more familiar with using technology, seeming to quickly jump right into engaging in the virtual activity before the adults did.

    In terms of your other questions about what benefits children and parents gained, that is the what our research is attempting to address. We are looking at how families engage with the virtual activity as compared to the hands-on activity. We are interested in the degree and type of "co-play" - looking at the types of interactions and families' engagement in scientific practices and how these might vary across the two activities. So far, for the VR activity, we are noticing a lot of collaboration between the parent and child. The activity is designed in a way that really supports this collaboration. Further, through working together, there are many examples of families engaging in quite sophisticated ways in "doing science." In observing families and interviewing them right after and, some families, a few weeks later, it definitely seems that both parents and children take something away about the story embedded in the activity. 

  • Icon for: David Clark

    David Clark

    Director
    May 6, 2020 | 05:45 p.m.

     Hi Michael,

    Congratulations on this successful project. I too have long been a fan of the amazing whale evolution story and what a perfect, intriguing topic from which to explore deep time.  As a fellow filmmaker I appreciate how you have leveraged the high end film visuals and computer animated creature assets into ancillary outreach resources, getting the biggest bang for your buck.  I like that you were able to arrange a simultaneous broadcast via PBS and Smithsonian Channel and reach 5 million plus viewers.  I'm curious if you were able to obtain any metrics on the audience demographic that you reached?

     
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    Alex DeCiccio
  • Icon for: Michael Rosenfeld

    Michael Rosenfeld

    Co-Presenter
    May 7, 2020 | 12:35 p.m.

    Hi, Dave, 

    Thanks for writing. The simulcast worked remarkably well. There was excellent coordination on both editorial and marketing, and a jointly hosted event that was standing room only at the museum. One piece of good news was that the film did well in the ratings for both networks, so neither one was taking viewers from the other. Both networks reached their core demographics--younger in the case of Smithsonian, so we definitely reached a wider audience as a result of the partnership. One encouraging result was that the film did particularly well in African American households on PBS. 

  • Icon for: Nathan Auck

    Nathan Auck

    Facilitator
    May 6, 2020 | 06:32 p.m.

    I love how your multi platform, multi media approach allowed for resonance of your message and opportunities for those interested to pursue other venues and experiences to learn more! I was interested to hear above how you empowered your local partners to reach out to their local communities. This got me wondering whether your overall project goals involved reaching specific audiences and if so, what strategies you used to target those populations? Equity is a common theme in the K-12 space and so I’m wondering if there were strategies that were employed in this case to reach specific audiences.

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 7, 2020 | 06:36 p.m.

    Hi Nathan--thanks for your comment. Our goal was to empower children and families, especially those who are underserved and/or living in rural communities, learn more about deep time. To address this, we worked with our partners at the NMNH, who sent an RFP to the Smithsonian Museum Affiliate network. Interested museums were asked to identify a partner organization--either another museum, school, library, or other educational space--in a rural area within their state with whom they would work to share the Lineage hands-on activities, VR game and film through a series of Family Fossil Festivals. Acting as panelists, the project team selected three museum/partner combinations, basing their choices on such considerations on a variety of criteria, including the socioeconomic, racial/ethnic and linguistic makeup of the populations each institution primarily serves, their demonstrated capacity to serve diverse visitors, their demonstrated desire to build capacity in this space, the location of their rural partner (i.e. how far it was from other learning institutions), and overall creativity/quality of their proposed programming. Educators from each of the six institutions received professional development around employing the resources and holding a Family Fossil Festival, and the project's research and evaluation centered largely around these events (and the Family Fossil Festival held at the NMNH) The partners selected were: 

    • The New Mexico New Mexico Museum Of Natural History & Science: Their partner organization is The Farmington Library, which hosts a variety of community programs for all ages. Their programs draw residents from outlying regions of Bloomfield, Aztec & surrounding Native Communities.
    • The University of Nebraska State Museum: Their partner is Ashfall Fossil Bedgs Historical Park., which collaborates with the Sioux community.  
    • McClung Museum at the University of Tennessee:  Their partner is Norwood Elementary School, located in Knox County in a community comprised of Hispanic, African American and Africa refugee groups.

    I also want to note that in addition to the Lineage project,  Twin Cities PBS also has a deep commitment to STEM equity that is demonstrated in our PBS SciGirls project, which includes a national TV series on PBS Kids, digital resources and websites, youth outreach, educator professional development and research. All project components are based on the SciGirls Strategies, a set of research-based approaches for fostering gender equitable and culturally responsive STEM learning spaces. Check them out at www.scigirlsconnect.org. Thanks for your question!

     
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    Nathan Auck
  • Icon for: Jackie DeLisi

    Jackie DeLisi

    Researcher
    May 8, 2020 | 11:55 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your work! This is a fascinating project. I had a very similar question and am particularly interested in learning more about partnerships in rural regions, especially partnerships between museums and schools. Can you say more about how your project has engaged schools in these areas? Also, did classroom teachers also attend the PD, and are any of these materials available for classroom use as well?

  • Icon for: Nathan Auck

    Nathan Auck

    Facilitator
    May 8, 2020 | 05:41 p.m.

    Thanks for your detailed response Kristin! I wasn’t expecting such intention in this space and was pleasantly surprised by how much coherence there was in this effort across locations! Great work with a great project!

  • Icon for: Jennifer Borland

    Jennifer Borland

    Researcher
    May 11, 2020 | 08:06 a.m.

    As a response to Jackie's question re: classroom teachers' participation:  While the partnerships were primarily geared toward informal education partners (like museums and libraries), one of the outreach sites in Tennessee was an elementary school and a teacher from that school did attend the PD that was offered at NMNH to help prepare partners for their outreach programs.  We also noted the fact that there were several educators who attended the outreach events in other sites.  Please see Colleen's note about online access to some of the resources that were created for these event and are now being shared more widely. Thanks for the question - and best wishes!

  • Icon for: Colleen Marzec

    Colleen Marzec

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 03:39 p.m.

    Yes, and I'll just add that one of the reasons we selected the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science as an affiliate partner was its relationship with the Farmington Library, which serves as a vibrant and vital resource for teachers and school districts for a very large rural area of New Mexico.

     
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    Kristin Pederson
  • Icon for: Alex DeCiccio

    Alex DeCiccio

    Media and Production Specialist
    May 7, 2020 | 07:15 a.m.

    Great project and designed approaches.

    two quick questions from me:

    - has there been any consideration to work some of the applicable media assets created (documentary, 25min outreach film) into downloadable education materials that live on pbslearningmedia.org? 

    - where did the project support from NSF come from? e.g Polar Programs (for our recent project)

  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 8, 2020 | 12:06 a.m.

    Hi Alex, thank you for your questions. Our full program is not available on PBS Learning Media, but we do have a set of clips and discussion questions up there for educators to access. We kept the clips short to better accommodate lesson planning. You can find the media here: https://tpt.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/when-whales-walked-journeys-in-deep-time/.

    As for the source of the NSF's project support, this project is funded by the NSF's Division of Research on Learning as well as the Directorate for Education and Human Resources. 

  • Icon for: Colleen Marzec

    Colleen Marzec

    Co-Presenter
    May 10, 2020 | 09:40 p.m.

    The National Museum of Natural will be making all the hands-on activities available online. The first, "Tiny Fossils, Big Picture," helps students use microscopic fossil pollen to reconstruct a plant community from millions of years ago. We just published it here: https://naturalhistory.si.edu/education/teachin...

    Five additional Lineage activities will be published and made available to teachers and parents over the next few weeks.

     

     
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    Bonny Ortiz-Andrade
  • Icon for: Leigh Peake

    Leigh Peake

    Informal Educator
    May 8, 2020 | 11:14 a.m.

    What a broad-ranging project! The video is beautiful and I love what you learned about the intersection of families, youth, VR and video viewing. As someone working with youth around climate science (right up there with evolution in the "objectionable science" category), I'm interested in whether you looked at measures of trust in science (also see the WZAM video in this Showcase)? I'm also interested in whether you have any findings that could be applied to develop experiences around other "deep time" concepts. We've pondered work on ice-core evidence related to climate change, but seems like deriving firm evidence about the past from current chunks of ice defies belief for many. Advice welcome ... thank you for the great work!

  • Icon for: Colleen Marzec

    Colleen Marzec

    Co-Presenter
    May 11, 2020 | 03:30 p.m.

    Hi Leigh, To answer your question, I asked for some help from our Experience Design Manager Colleen Popson at NMNH who worked on Lineage experiences who responded with this:

    We believe—though this still needs more testing—that the best way for us to build trust in science is by focusing on building science literacy and science identity through inquiry-based, audience-centered experiences. We hope these experiences help our audiences, particularly families, develop a sense that they are “science people”, that is, that they have an understanding for how science works, an appreciation of its value to their lives, and a sense of self-efficacy, that science is something they and their family can do. We have some favorite go-to curriculum developed by others that we use in our experience design and that we've adapted for our educators, docents, and youth interns and volunteers: UCMP's Understanding Science, NCSE's Challenging Conversations curriculum for evolution and climate change, NNOCCI's climate change communication training. We also try to make scientists as familiar and accessible as possible; whenever we can, we bring our audiences into face-to-face conversation with scientists both onsite and online. 

    On a practical note, we often use visual and physical models and metaphors from everyday life, things that can be witnessed around them or over the course of a lifetime, as bridges to help people conceptualize these big, deep, complicated, unseen scientific concepts. Think dog breeding or hybridization in agriculture and family trees as bridges to evolution concepts. The pages of a book or football field metaphors for geological time. I imagine there are some analogies to ice core formation that people can witness in real time that could be used to help people wrap their minds around the idea of climate snapshots trapped in the deeper layers of ice cores. People seem more comfortable making the leap to our ability to place things in geological order/time when they realize they've seen rock layers each time they drive through a road cut.

     
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    Michael I. Swart
  • May 9, 2020 | 05:56 p.m.

    This is a beautiful and engaging video. You really know how to marshall good images and provoke thought. Our own work concerns gender stereotypes around 'who does STEM,' especially the stereotypes that tend to dampen the motivation of some young girls in STEM learning. You probably have lots of good ideas about these equity issues and how to design programs to address these pernicious stereotypes. Our video this year talks about one such approach. But am interested in your own implicit and/or explicit approaches. Thanks for the great work!

     
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    Bonny Ortiz-Andrade
  • Icon for: Kristin Pederson

    Kristin Pederson

    Lead Presenter
    STEM Director, Project Development & Communication
    May 12, 2020 | 12:22 a.m.

    Great question, Andrew. Our wonderful NSF grant officer, Valentine Kass, actually challenged our team at the start of the project to be very mindful of the very issue you raise. In response (and probably falling into the category of an "explicit" approach) was to seek and feature as key characters in the film incredible women working in this space, including geologist Dr. Ellen Currano and paleontologist Dr. Jingmai O'Connor, among others The NSF-funded research TPT does around gender equity for its SciGirls programming underscores the importance of relatable role models for girls pursuing STEM, and these women definitely fit the bill. In the area of implicit approaches, TPT approaches all STEM content production--including media, educational activities and outreach strategy/implementation--around our commitment to fostering gender equitable STEM learning, again garnered from our years of turning research into practice with SciGirls--this is definitely reflected in both Lineage content and team make-up. I look forward to watching your video, Andrew!

  • May 11, 2020 | 05:46 p.m.

    A wonderful collection of mediascapes with professional production.  Thanks for creating this interactive curriculum, outreach, research and evaluation.

    Is the research segmented across each of these pedagogical approaches to differentiate each's impact?  For example, as mentioned earlier with the multigenerational interaction, usage of the touch display in museums?  The nature of how the groups work? Are you collecting data specifically on the collaborative interactivity in the museums? 

    Also, could you expound on the larger theoretical across all these great platforms? It may have been hinted at a bit above with inquiry-based, audience-centered experiences and leveraging physical models and metaphors from everyday life, but if there's more, please share. 

  • Icon for: John Chikwem

    John Chikwem

    Researcher
    May 12, 2020 | 03:44 p.m.

    This video allows students especially young people to understand the history of life in order for them to understand evolution and its relation to things like climate change and environmental issues. It is very interactive.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.