“Behind the Scenes at MIT” is a collection of short videos that feature current and former MIT researchers explaining how a textbook chemistry topic is essential to their research and to an inspiring real-world application. There are currently twelve science videos, which can be searched by chemistry topic (i.e. atomic theory, bonding, acid-base equilibrium) or by research application.
A set of accompanying personal videos, one for each scientist featured, illustrates their journeys to becoming scientists. Some of these videos highlight challenges that have been overcome, such as dealing with learning disabilities, growing up gay and intellectual in a conservative small town, and having to learn English in order to understand science class.
Our goals in creating these videos were to bring the excitement of MIT research into the chemistry classroom and to illuminate both the why and the who of chemistry. These videos are intended to help motivate students to learn chemistry, inspire students to tackle important scientific problems in their future careers, and expose students to the many faces of chemistry.
The videos can be viewed online or downloaded for use in the classroom. Each science video is under three minutes, and the personal videos are three to five minutes in length. Teachers are welcome to use any or all of our videos in their classrooms. Video creation was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) through an HHMI Professors Grant to Professor Cathy Drennan and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Unported License.
MIT/HHMI Professor and Investigator
MIT Course 5 ’08 and Free Energy Productions
MIT PH.D. Course 5 ’07 and HHMI Education LabAnique Olivier-Mason
Ph.D. Biology and HHMI Education Lab
MIT Ph.D. Course 5 ’06 and O’Reilly Science Art
Each video was inspired by Professor Drennan’s 14+ years teaching freshman chemistry at MIT
“Behind the Scenes at MIT” is a collection of two-minute science videos and a collection of three- to five-minute personal videos featuring MIT scientists. In each science video, an MIT undergraduate, graduate student, postdoc, or professor discusses her/his research in the context of a textbook chemistry topic and a real-world application. In each personal video, an MIT researcher shares stories about why or how s/he became a scientist.
The videos were produced by the Drennan Education Laboratory as part of an HHMI Professors grant to Professor Cathy Drennan at MIT. The videos were created for our own general chemistry course, MIT course 5.111, and for other educators to bring the why and the who of chemistry research into introductory classes.
The science videos are intended for use in introductory college classes and high school chemistry classes. The personal videos are appropriate for all ages and require no chemistry or science background for viewing.
Yes! You can access one or all of the videos directly from MIT ODL Video Service and use them in any way that fits with your curriculum. The science videos assume that the viewer has already been introduced to the chemistry topic discussed, so the video on pH and pKa, for example, is best shown after students begin to learn about pH in class.
The videos are protected under a creative commons license with the Attribution-NonCommercial-
The videos are extremely short so that they can fit into any curriculum without requiring that other material be removed from a course. The videos are not intended to completely explain the research introduced, but rather to illuminate the connection between what students are learning in introductory chemistry and how those basic principles are essential for cutting edge research.
The videos were piloted in the Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 semesters of MIT general chemistry course 5.111. Assessment was done in collaboration with the MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory.
As funding allows, we plan to create additional videos to cover other basic topics in chemistry and/or biology.
Yes. Please visit our group website for links to other resources, including biology- and medicine-related examples for general chemistry and Teaching Assistant (TA) and diversity training materials.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Unported License.