Judge Kent Dixon is more fascinated by Fig Newtons than Sir Isaac.
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."—Walt Disney
Whether it's dinosaurs, outer space, or any one of a million other areas of interest, I'm convinced the love of science is formed at a very early age. Often the challenge and potential barrier to learning is the complexity of the subject matter and the details behind the science. Enter the Science of Disney Imagineering DVD series.
Disney cast member and Imagineer Asa Kalama serves as the host of the Science of Disney Imagineering series and does a solid job of keeping young viewers entertained while communicating the relatively complex scientific principles behind Sir Isaac Newton's three laws in basic terminology. Kalama's on-screen explanations are also accompanied by engaging animated illustrations that take the next step in breaking down the science into simpler terms. While the average physicist will likely be dozing off while watching this, the 7 and 10-year-old students on my couch were fully engaged.
Not only do viewers gain an understanding of a specific science topic, but the series takes the learning one step further by showing students how specific scientific principles apply with Disney rides and attractions. When I learned this was the approach they'd be taking, I was leery it would come off as a shameless marketing plug for the parks, but was pleased to find that this part of the feature leans more towards the science and fun and less towards marketing.
Listed under "Educational Features & More," teachers will find some great resources called "Try It Yourself" and "Test Your Knowledge." "Try It Yourself" leads viewers in three different experiments that put the main feature's content into practice, even providing the list of materials needed for each experiment. There's no duplication of content here as the three hands-on experiments reinforce the science in another way. "Test Your Knowledge" presents 15 multiple choice questions to quiz viewers after they've watched the main feature. The coolest feature of this section is that if you get a question wrong, the DVD automatically jumps to the section of the feature that addressed the specific question, then returns to the quiz.
A five-page educator's guide that covers Newton's 3 Laws of Motion in depth is also included on the DVD in pdf form, saving valuable pre-class prep time for teachers. While students watching a DVD in a classroom setting aren't likely going to be too concerned about the video or audio quality, Newton's 3 Laws of Motion is solid all around with a better-than-average video presentation and an audio mix that suits the content just fine.
With a purchase price averaging around $50 and a main feature run time of just 30 minutes, this is an expensive little resource. Granted Disney Educational Productions releases are intended to be used as classroom teaching tools, but unless a school has some spare budget dollars lying around, a release like this is a bit extravagant. If you're considering buying it for educational purposes, keep in mind that the purchase price does include some public performance rights.
One title in a series of nine Imagineering-themed Disney Educational Productions releases, The Science of Disney Imagineering: Newton's 3 Laws of Motion does an excellent job of communicating some relatively complex scientific principles in a way that's easy to understand and fun to watch, with a dash of Disney thrown in for good measure.
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