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Using Videos to Communicate COVID Science

by Yang Zhang

3 min read

Student video makers communicate information from the Mayo Clinic.

Informal science learning contexts create a space where youth can use creative ways to communicate science. In our after school science club, Science STARS, youth use films to communicate their scientific knowledge and what viewers should do with the science. This year, three teams of STARS spent seven weeks conducting scientific investigations around COVID-19, which culminated with filming public service announcements (PSAs) to spread messages about how to keep our social circles safe during the pandemic. They presented their PSAs in the showcase where their family members, community members, school personnel (the principal and teachers), and some other public audience attended.

One of our STARS teams, Bio Bosses, explored how people are impacted by COVID differently while we are somehow similar biologically. They dived into how the antibody helps us fight against the virus and how herd immunity works to slow down and stop the spread of the disease. They also looked at how a series of social factors impacted the way we experienced the pandemic. Contextualizing their PSA in the popular youth vampire novel, Twilight, Bio Bosses were all hands on deck filming their PSA by taking roles of the script writer, the director, the camera person, the actors. Name the roles you can think of! With Denis’ story, Bio Bosses hope that everyone can still keep cautious at this time to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe.

Another STARS team, the Atoms Family, focused on vaccines. They not only studied how the COVID mRNA vaccine works and how to preserve them during transportation, but also did research on vaccine safety utilizing information from reliable resources such as CDC, Mayo Clinic, to seek answers to the questions they cared about most. For example, one of our STARS did research on whether the COVID vaccines are safe for pregnant women since her mom is carrying a baby now. They integrated information from reliable sources in their PSAs and of course, wrote up and filmed their own stories.

Last but not least, team Disease Detectives learned how to diagnose and educate people about diseases as a doctor by comparing and contrasting the symptoms of several diseases including COVID, cholera, smallpox, etc. They designed and conducted experiments on masks and looked at the hospitalization rate data among people who are vaccinated and who are not. In their PSAs, they asked people to take appropriate protective actions to keep their social circles safe.

This is the fourth year that we have collaborated with School 58, World of Inquiry School to implement our Science STARS. We want to shout out to the amazing scholars from School 58 who live the priority, values, and missions of School 58. We also want to shout out to their family and community members who supported their kids. We especially want to recognize Mr. Donko-Hanson, the Principal of School 58, who showed up to support and recognize the scholars!

The Disease Detective present their video to a crowd at the Rochester Public Library.


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