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PWR 91KA: Science Storytelling for Kids

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Photo credit: YY Tech

Do you remember your favorite picture book? Mine imagined the rainbow’s origin story. I’ve been fascinated by everything true-rainbow since! Some of the most effective science communication use popular forms such as picture books, podcasts, short videos, and narrative perspectives.

Expanding the work of PWR 1 and PWR 2 into genres NSC students might navigate professionally and personally, the class will explore less-often utilized techniques for storytelling, narrative construction, and performative-based presentation. A few professional examples are the podcasts Wow in the World and How to be a Better Human, the Youtubers Veritasium, Minute Physics, and Be Smart), narrative storytelling in KQED’s Perspectives and NPR’s This I Believe and the picture books Hey, Water and Ada Twist, Scientist. This class will give students the opportunity to create these forms as well as informal writing, including imagine drafts, re-framing stories, and counter-narratives. Guided by my work as a children’s book author (Wider than the Sky; The Rainbow Museum) and creative writer as well as a researcher, students will create self-directed projects to explore an area of science they feel passionate about for a young audience. Class guests will offer guidance and best practices for science storytelling including Stanford Storytelling Project’s Laura Joyce Davis, New York Times bestselling children’s book author Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, television commentator, New York Times bestselling author, and law expert Melissa Murray, and Happy Hollow (children’s eco-park) Executive Director, Rhonda Nourse.

Major Assignments

Choose Your Story (500-900 words)

In this short narrative you’ll declare the origins of your affection for your topic and describe what forms you look forward to creating.

Creative Project 1 (Podcast or Narrative Story)

Using the framing of a radio segment, podcast production, or written narrative with a specific audience (such as kids 7-10 years-old), you will conduct then edit an story to tell an accessible narrative. Particular focus should be on the rhetorical choices for science communication in this genre.

Creative Project 2 (Video or Picture Book)

Using the framing of either a Tik Tok or Youtube short or a picture book, you will create and edit an accessible video or book spread (500-700 word) to visually tell a story about your chosen topic for a specific audience **no art skills necessary!

Project Portfolio (1000 words)

This reflective portfolio will include the best of your work, your creative writing (500 words) and your reflection (500 words) on the course’s impact on your professional, creative, and scientific identity.


Prerequisite: WR-1 requirement or the permission of instructor

Grade Option: Letter (ABCD/NP)

Course Feature: Science Communication Track

This Course does not fulfill the WR-1 or WR-2 Requirement