The Chemistry Shorts logo, which has the text "short films about chemistry" in black, all-caps text next to five small depictions of molecules.

Collaborator Spotlight: Capturing Chemistry on Camera with Chemistry Shorts

Connecting the fundamentals of chemistry to everyday life, Chemistry Shorts' videos find the sweet spot between educational and entertaining. Their fantastic short films—accompanied by teaching guides and supporting documents—are now available on LabXchange! We spoke to Chemistry Shorts to learn a bit more about their motivations and content.

What does your organization do?

Chemistry Shorts produces high-quality, free-to-use films illustrating the vital role the chemical sciences play in the biggest issues facing the world. From cutting-edge new methods of managing our dwindling water supply to the science behind delicious ice cream, the series inspires learners of all ages to appreciate the role that chemistry plays in their daily lives. Each film is accompanied by a lesson plan, free to educators, to integrate the science behind these innovations into the classroom.

Which Chemistry Shorts content are you most excited by?

While we love each of our six films (so far), we’re really excited about our most recent release, “Frosty Formulations,” featuring Ice Cream ScientistTM Dr. Maya Warren. In "Frosty Formulations," Dr. Warren takes us down to the microscopic level of ice cream to discuss how this delicious treat is a solid, liquid, and gas all at once, and how the combination of those three states gives it its distinctive texture.

A Black woman with long dark hair wearing a brightly colored striped shirt smiles at the camera while holding an ice cream cone. Next to her is the text "Frosty Formulations" as well as the Chemistry Shorts logo in the bottom right corner. The logo consists of the text "Short films about chemistry" with five dot-and-line models of molecules next to it.)
Dr. Maya Warren in "Frosty Formulations."

But, that’s not all! The film then dives deeper into the key steps in making ice cream that allow suspended fat globules to partially coalesce like soap bubbles: with the addition of an emulsifier, cold temperature, and friction from the churning ice cream maker. Without all of these steps, the complicated chemistry of ice cream wouldn’t form the same beloved treat! For teachers, this film is a way to engage students on important chemistry topics through a fun, approachable, and relatable subject.

What's one fun fact that LabXchange users should know about your organization?

One of the most fun parts of Chemistry Shorts is getting to highlight lots of different chemists: from Nobel Prize winners like Dr. Frances Arnold in “Driving Reactions” to scientists at the exciting early phases of their career, like a graduate student making advances in the study of chirality in one of our upcoming films. But our scientists are also incredibly fascinating people outside of their work too! Some of our featured scientists have been astronomy lovers, scuba divers, and foodies. Dr. Maya Warren, from “Frosty Formulations,” was even a winner on Season 25 of The Amazing Race! We love being able to introduce these interesting and inquisitive individuals to our audiences!

How can learners and educators best make use of your content?

We’ve worked to make our content as easy to use in classrooms as possible! Each film is accompanied by a high-school-level lesson plan that includes pre- and post-class assignments, as well as in class activities, an associated wet lab experiment, and further reading and resources for classrooms that want to dive deeper. Every packet is NGSS aligned and contains tips and best practices for implementation.

What motivates you to continue your work in science education?

Science education is incredibly important for all students, not just those who will go on to become scientists themselves. The chemical sciences touch every aspect of our lives, and Chemistry Shorts strives to inspire and educate about the big problems chemistry is working to solve. This film series is one way to make sure people can appreciate science and innovation, as well as learn to love the fun, exciting, and jaw-droppingly cool aspects of modern chemistry!

Finally, what's your favorite science joke?

Why did the bear dissolve in water?

Because it was a polar bear!

Written by
LabXchange team

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