ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Institute of Technology graduate student Chelsea DeMott Wildey led the production of the recently launched animated education series, targeted towards kids: “Sciencelore.”
When DeMott Wildey came to RIT with background in film and a focus on educational media, she knew she wanted to take the idea for this show and make it a reality. Working on Sesame Street in Manhattan on post-production, is where she got the idea for what would become “Sciencelore.”
“I was so immersed in science and ornithology, specifically,” DeMott Wildey said. “I started wondering where all of these perceptions of, specifically birds came from. Like, ‘Why do we think owls are wise?’ and ‘Why do we think ravens are mischievous?'”
It was involving herself in learning more about animation at RIT, and meeting people with different backgrounds, that brought the series to life.
After submitting a proposal to the MAGIC Center Makers program at the institute, DeMott Wildey got the green light to start official production on the show.
“I did a bit of child psychology research,” DeMott Wildey said. “I found that a lot of the times, especially in the United States, children by the age of eight tend to silo themselves on either being left-brained or right-brained. They say, ‘I am science-minded’ or ‘I am artistically minded.’ And, really throughout the rest of their K-12 education, they kind of gravitate only towards what they’ve already identified as.”
DeMott Wildey said when students go to college with this isolated type of mindset, they enter with limited opportunities, because of the kind of mindset they unknowingly maintained.
Joining together with a team of ten fellow graduate students to curate a production schedule that made the process worthwhile, DeMott Wildey was able to see her idea on the screen.
The message behind “Sciencelore,” according to DeMott Wildey: ‘Entertain. Encourage. Inspire.’
“[I want to] hopefully inspire a bunch of kids to pull up the red thread and start connecting dots and not feel they have to say, ‘Oh, I’m only science, I don’t really pay attention to literature,’ or vice versa. And then the last one is encouraged,” DeMott Wildey said. “So just really, to encourage them to like, talk with their peers, if they have a peer who’s more of a science person, and they’re more of a literature person, maybe they can like, join links or something. I just think that it would be fun.”
DeMott Wildey said focus groups are responding well to the show, saying kids have been able to “research things, reframe their findings in their own language, use humor, and have fun with it.”
As for what “Sciencelore” will become after DeMott Wildey’s time at RIT, she says it’s all in plan.
“I’ve been working on like a loose clothesline for that program. That way, as I’m pitching this show to other content creators or networks, I have some accurate insight into like, what episodes are of most interest to kids,” DeMott Wildey said. “Another goal is to reach out to local PBS stations to see if we can try to like get it shown on their schedules to try and really test it on live television and see if there’s a response that we can like measure. I’ve also been talking with some local librarians at public schools.”
To learn more about “Sciencelore” and to watch the pilot episode, check out their website here.