Movies

Tracy & Felt

tracyfelt1Those of you who are old enough might see similarities between Tracy & Felt and the Howdy Doody show. A more modern way to characterize it might be the Muppets explore nature with Jacques Cousteau and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Whatever simile one uses, I found Tracy & Felt to be a really fun and entertaining way to bring science to young people, dude.

Presented as a web series, short videos available online, the first two episodes of Tracy & Felt deal with topics such as scientific observation, rain and the water cycle, tides and gravity, logical reasoning, aliens, and of course, an octopus! Another great feature of this show is the field research, which elicits different points of view. My favorite, which captures just how important differing viewpoints are, is when one fish characterizes the tides as "when the land gets further away."

On her web site, series creator Elizabeth Schiffer mentions the goals behind the series: "Developed on Whidbey Island, WA we challenged ourselves to create a story full of laughs (mostly our own) and exploring the magical and not-to-distant world of science and nature."

Having been a part of the evolution of independent science education films for almost 2 decades, I have watched innumerable attempts at bringing science to the people. Most of these were a variation on the theme of positioning an expert in the field to talk to a camera, but amounted to little more than mind-numbing "lectures on videotape". So I really appreciate Elizabeth's humor and activity based approach. I hope it sparks a trend.

Speaking of trends, there are 2 episodes already available of Tracy & Felt. I hope more will follow before too long.

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