Our new Resource of the Month is as lively and colorful as Summer itself! Stated Clearly: Science is for Everyone is freely accessible on its own website [http://statedclearly.com/], as well as on YouTube. Bright and playful animations, interspersed with photos of fossils, algae, and scientists in their labs, run 3–11 minutes each and introduce viewers simply, but accurately, to the fundamentals of genetics and evolution. The 12 current videos include optional closed captioning and links to supporting resources.
The home page displays “cover art” for each video and indicates its length. Click a “play” arrow to start streaming your chosen video. Among the topics are: What is the Evidence for Evolution? What is DNA and How Does it Work? What is Natural Selection? and Does the Theory of Evolution Really Matter? The hard-edge illustrations are striking in their simplicity, colorful, even amusing – with references to Elvis Presley, Jurassic Park, the Wolverine, and swimsuit models! Information is delivered at a comfortable rate and closes by summarizing the main points. One 5-minute animation (What Exactly is a Gene?) begins with the classic A-C-G-T, then briefly touches on specific proteins, the genetic similarity between chimps and humans (and fruit flies and humans!), and several GMOs such as insect-resistant corn and insulin-producing bacteria.
Below each video, click on “Learn more” to reveal a brief description of its content and links to related information. Clicking on “Transcript” opens the full text of the video (no need to scribble notes while you watch). “Production” and “Sponsors” tabs provide that information, while “For Teachers” promises more to come: Stated Clearly is now in the process of creating teaching materials to accompany the animations; materials will include lesson plans and high-resolution images that you can download. “Please check back soon.”
These videos are ideal for students to use in class, on their own, or in topical study groups. They are also valuable for updating teachers and offering new perspectives. Videos on touchy topics (e.g., evolution) present experimental evidence and support, but with no sense of argument or proving a point. The website even includes Articles (a choice near the top of the screen) to “tell you more about who we are,” explaining where Stated Clearly gets information for animations. The overall message is that Stated Clearly is committed to its mission “to promote the art of critical thinking by exposing people from all walks of life to the simple beauty of science … creating short, information-rich animations that explain the topic in clear language.” These animations will enrich your classes on evolution and genetics, and stimulate students to consider the evidence that supports these often controversial scientific topics.
About the Creators:
Stated Clearly: Science is for Everyone was founded in 2012 by Jon Perry, an artist in Corvallis, Oregon, who also works with birds at the Chintimini Wildlife Center. Noting that the scientific community had difficulty engaging the public, Jon created his first science animation: “What is DNA and how does it work?” Today, Stated Clearly has a 10-member production team, many science PhD- and MD-level advisors, and sponsors that include NASA, NSF, Emory University, and Georgia Tech. Since the first animation, created “as a gift to the community,” subsequent videos have received support from sponsors and from viewers’ donations.