Science teachers: Carl Sagan's "COSMOS"?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by sciencewrestler, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 7, 2008

    While I love this 13-part PBS series that came out in 1980 - the most expensive ever by that network up to that time - which I watched in my 9th grade biology class, could a science teacher still use it today?

    carlsagan.com (click on "books and dvd")

    FYI: the dvds also contain updates to the science in the original program - I think the boxset came out in 2001.

    Youtube has at least one of the 1 hour episodes: #1: "On The Shores Of The Cosmic Ocean".*

    If you're a science teacher or just a history + science hobbyist, IMO you owe it to youself to watch this awesome series. Sagan is great at taking very ethereal or downright difficult subjects & explaining them in ways us normal people :) can understand but without talking down to anyone either & fortunately, not in that irritating cutesy or "hip" style that so many modern science programs use now that just distract rather than help inform. :unsure:

    The money PBS spent is very obvious and while some of CG effects are a bit dated most still look good to great. And the live action historical re-creation sequences are very nicely done.

    But it's how Sagan takes science and mixes it with society & humanity that makes this series so interesting to me (my much-viewed VHS tapes are almost unwatchable now!). I have seen no other program do it so well. The Big Ideas he describes really made an impression on me back then and still do actually.

    * that haunting opening theme is by Vangelis; much of the rest of the series uses classical music to help create a great mood for those Big Ideas he discusses.
     
  2.  
  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Oct 7, 2008

    I think your fifth paragraph answers the question in your first, wrestler. Sagan could write, and write well, about science; that's a glorious gift. And, yes, Sagan made a huge splash at the time: his explosive b's in "billions and billions" were a byword for months.

    If your students are up for it, you could certainly show it and have them discuss not only the material but the presentation: does it still work? what could be different? Who knows but that the process might spawn the next Carl Sagan?
     
  4. sciencewrestler

    sciencewrestler Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0

    Oct 7, 2008

    I am definitely no Carl Sagan, but this series did have some influence over my decision to become a teacher. Not just the way he taught but also how he took all those big ideas & was able to show how everyday peoples' lives were affected in small AND far-reaching ways........but I have to admit the science by itself was (and still is) a big thrill for me.
     
  5. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,807
    Likes Received:
    1,170

    Oct 7, 2008

    The next Carl Sagan could be in your class, 'wrestler - and a class with someone who loves science as you clearly do could make all the difference.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. PrayerWithStrength,
  2. miss-m,
  3. stefannyliem
Total: 437 (members: 6, guests: 417, robots: 14)
test