Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences Education and Outreach

Upward and Outward: Scientific Inquiry on the Tibetan Plateau


Photo credit: Richard Lease

Upward and Outward: Scientific Inquiry on the Tibetan Plateau is a twenty-minute educational documentary film targeting high school and college science students. The film shows the process of science as seen through the work of an international team of scientists as they conduct interdisciplinary research on the Tibetan Plateau. As they see the scientists in action, in the field, lab, and computer room, students learn how science is a human process for building knowledge, not just a body of fact. The film aligns with national and state standards on scientific inquiry and the nature of science. Read more about the film

Evidence for the impact of the film on students

Teachers helped us gather data on how the film influenced students' views of scientists and their understanding of how scientists work. We found that the film was successful in challenging stereotypes and showing science as a human process of building knowledge and working together.

Laursen, S. L., & Brickley, A. (2011). Focusing the camera lens on the nature of science: Evidence for the effectiveness of documentary film as a Broader Impacts strategy. Journal of Geoscience Education 59, 126-138; doi:10.5408/1.3604825

Laursen, S. L., & Brickley, A. L. (2011). "A scientist has many things to do": E/O strategies that focus on the processes of science. In J. B. Jensen, J. G. Manning, & M. Gibbs (eds.), Earth and Space Science: Making Connections in Education and Public Outreach, ASP Conference Series vol. 443, 116-124.

What people are saying about the film

Molnar.jpgWe need to educate our students to think critically about the information they come across, whether in class, online, in the movie theatre, etc. They need the tools to understand — Is this science? Is this a debate? What do I think vs. what do I believe? I also think the DVD will inspire our students to pursue careers in science. Teachers can draw from the enthusiasm in the video.
Lisa P., district science coordinator, Colorado

I used the video for both English and science class... they watched the video and wrote about the questions. My 7th and 8th graders have a very narrow view of what you can do with what I am teaching them and how many jobs in the world are related to science. The video really opened their eyes to the many opportunities in the field.
Rebecca H., middle school teacher, Maine

Produced by Roslyn Dauber
Written by Roslyn Dauber and Sandra Laursen
Narrated by Peter Furey
Executive Producers Sandra Laursen and Peter Molnar

nsf075.jpgThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EAR-0507730. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. 

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