DragonflyTV Nano Full Summative Report

July 24th, 2009 | EVALUATION

Produced by Twin Cities Public Television, St. Paul, MN, DragonflyTV (DFTV) is a weekly television series of half-hour live action shows for 8-12 year olds, distributed by PBS Plus. DFTV features real children engaged in real inquiry-based investigations in and around science centers across America. Six 2009 episodes of DFTV focus on the world of nanoscale science and technology. DFTV Nano highlights science centers and university research labs while applying the DFTV “Real Kids … Real Science” model to communicate basic concepts and the scientific process in nanoscience. The themes of the six programs include Size & Scale, Structure of Matter, Small is Different, Forces at the Nanoscale, Applications, and Nanotechnology & Society. Thirty female and thirty male fifth graders equally distributed across five national sites participated in the study, implemented by Multimedia Research. Participants had not previously seen DFTV and reported that they were somewhat or very interested in science. Half of the sample viewed the program Structure of Matter, and half viewed Small is Different. Participants were interviewed individually both before and after seeing their respective program. The pre-post same-sample study encompasses two studies: (1) an assessment of what children can learn about nanoscience from television and (2) an exploration into how viewers’ understanding of nanoscience content varies with different television presentation formats. The programs were very successful in communicating their main messages of nanoscience, and all viewers concluded that nanotechnology will be very or somewhat important in the future. Viewers identified two distinct television presentation formats as most effective in helping them learn nanoscience content: "onscreen kids doing hands-on activities" and "the use of models to support content." Across the presentation formats, four production characteristics were identified as most effective in helping viewers learn: “clear demonstration of relationships, comparisons, procedures and results;” “showing critical information visually;” “connection to the content;” and “clear age-appropriate explanations.”



Team Members

Barbara Flagg, Evaluator, Multimedia Research


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE
Award Number: 0741749

Related URLs

DragonflyTV GPS: Investigating the Nanoworld


Audience: Evaluators | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals
Discipline: Engineering | Materials science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Summative
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Media and Technology