Planning Grant: Natural History of the Horses of the American West

August 15th, 2009 - December 31st, 2011 | PROJECT

This planning activity will produce a prototype film on Spanish horses and conduct 10 focus group discussions to determine: audience interest, background knowledge, what viewers would like to see in this documentary, language barriers, cultural barriers, and how the film could be structured to help the public and teachers interact with children. The focus groups will target the follow groups: (1) middle school teachers, (2) elementary school teachers, (3) families with young children, (4) Hispanic families, (5) American Indian families, (6) youth ages 13-19, (7) horse lovers and those involved in horse activities, (8) senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, (9) documentary, museum exhibit and website production professionals, and (10) media and museum marketing professionals. The effort is intended to guide development of a PBS documentary, an interactive website, a companion book, and a museum exhibit on the origins, evolution, migration and impact of Spanish horses. STEM content in mathematics, genetics, paleontology, chemistry, evolution, and animal behavior, integrated with history, will be incorporated into the scripts for this diverse array of media platforms. The project also presents an opportunity to present in a very interesting and real sense the scientific process used for discovery. In addition to producing the prototype film and conducting focus group discussions, this planning grant will help to: clarify the responsibilities of all of the participants, especially the international participants; clarify the contributions from each discipline and scientist; plan in detail ways to achieve the greatest understanding with the anticipated diverse audiences; select the best geographic region, graphics, media, and animation; and establish realistic budgets and elements for production and post-production. Collaborators include: New Mexican Horse Project, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Habitat Media, University of New Mexico and Institute for Social Research, Cambridge University, Texas A &M University, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Selinda Research Associates, and PBS.

Project Website(s)

(no project website provided)

Team Members

Paul Polechla, Principal Investigator, University of New Mexico


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: ISE/AISL
Award Number: 0840016
Funding Amount: 74940


Access and Inclusion: Ethnic | Racial | Hispanic | Latinx Communities | Indigenous and Tribal Communities | People with Disabilities
Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Families | General Public | Middle School Children (11-13) | Museum | ISE Professionals | Seniors | Youth | Teen (up to 17)
Discipline: Chemistry | Geoscience and geography | Life science | Mathematics | Nature of science
Resource Type: Project Descriptions
Environment Type: Broadcast Media | Exhibitions | Museum and Science Center Exhibits | Websites | Mobile Apps | Online Media