Opening night at the National Association of Biology Teacher’s (NABT) meeting in Dallas, Texas. This is the annual meeting of middle, high, and college biology teachers who come together to exchange ideas, share insights, and improve the quality of biology teaching and learning. I love this meeting – so many good people and ideas.
The meeting opened with a welcome reception and a special event – HHMI Night at the Movies. For the second year in a row, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has kicked off the conference with a red carpet screening (complete with popcorn) of new short films that tell amazing biology stories. Sean Carroll, VP for Science Education at HHMI and author of Into the Jungle, introduced the evening, and the film, with a reminder that it is the stories of science that compell and bind us.
This year’s film is called The Day the Mesozoic Died. It tells the remarkable story of one science’s most compelling mysteries – what happened to the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period? The 30-minute film showcases the work of geologists Walter Alvarez and Jan Smit, as they piece together the evidence to support the Alvarez Impact hypothesis - that a huge asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of foraminifera, plants, and animals – including the dinosaurs. The movie was excellent – science storytelling at its best with terrific cinematography, a compelling storyline, clear writing with just the right amount of detail.
After the screening, Sean Carroll and Dennis Liu, Program Director of HHMI’s Public Education Initiatives (and the man behind HHMI’s annual Holiday Lecture Series), took questions and comments from the audience. Each NABT participant was given a copy of the DVD to take back to their classrooms. Thank you, HHMI – very nicely done.
You can watch the movie online here: The Day the Mesozoic Died.