While I’ve been writing a great deal about astrophysics and the related textbook I’m finishing, I haven’t written much about the other big project stealing my time, which is Prove Your World. For those who haven’t been stalking me, Prove Your World is a project to create a children’s science video series aimed at 8 - 13 year olds.
Part of what makes this series different from many others is that it’s driven by real scientists and educators, not a production studio. The central focus is to put science first, to get it right, and to present it in a way that it educationally sound and based on national standards. The other main difference is that the topics covered are driven by questions kids ask. The kids drive the science rather than trying to hook kids on topics I (or any other scientist) finds interesting.
As you might imagine, developing a kids series is a huge project, and you’d be right. When I helped start the project I assumed it would be a massive undertaking, but even then I underestimated how complex a project it really was. That’s probably a good thing, because if I had known what I was getting into, I’m not sure I would have attempted it.
The good news is we’ve made significant progress. The project is now has partnerships with Rochester Institute of Technology and Nazareth College, we’re working with WXXI, and we have the production team and related talent in place to create the series pilot. We’ve even updated our website. Our next challenge is securing the funding necessary to actually produce the pilot. While there is a way people can contribute to the project financially (and tax deduct their donation), I suspect most readers are pretty cash-strapped in this economy. But the way you can really help is to spread the word about the project. When wooing the big funders, it helps to be able to show interest in your project. That means the more G-Plussers, Facebook fans and tweeters we have, the easier it is to gather the necessary funding.
So if you’d like to see a real science show for kids, one that features real scientists, that doesn’t shy away from topics like evolution, and that listens to the questions kids have, then help me spread the word. I know this post is a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I feel strongly about this project. I promise next time I’ll go back to talking about stars and such.