Project: DragonflyTV series, Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota

Authors: Dawn Robles, Jenifer V. Helms, Michelle Phillips

Type: Report

Publication: April 2009

DragonflyTV: Investigating the Nanoworld – Summative Evaluation Report (pdf, 28 pages)


In recent years academic, engineering, business, and other fields, have launched major research and development efforts into the study and application of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. In spite of all these efforts and the investment of millions of dollars, the general public has had little access to research findings and knowledge about the application of nanoscience and technology. Several studies have been conducted to assess public knowledge and understanding; they show that a large percentage of the public is not aware of this emerging field (as compared with other fields such as genetic engineering and stem cell research).

The DragonflyTV series produced by Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, has a solid reputation for providing science education television for children ages 9-12. The series follows a tradition of portraying “real kids doing real science” through filming children’s investigations of a science or technology question or phenomenon that is of interest to them. After considerable research into what resources are currently available in nanoscience education, and seeing the need to familiarize children with this emerging science, the science and technology division of TPT proposed to the National Science Foundation that they create a set of DragonflyTV programs specifically focused on the topic of nanoscience. To that end TPT produced DFTV GPS: Investigating the Nanoworld, which is shown on more than 70% of the 350 PBS channels across the country; the segments can also be viewed online at pbskids.org

Inverness Research was contracted by TPT to conduct one part of a summative evaluation of the DTFV Nano project. In particular, we were asked to study the three-way collaboration between museum and scientist partners and the DFTV staff, and to document the nature, qualities, challenges, and successes of this relationship.

The report is organized into the following sections:
I. Introduction
II. The Evaluation
III. The DragonflyTV Model
IV. Benefits of This Collaboration
V. Challenges and Lessons Learned
VI. Summary

Intended Audience

Science Education Media Producers, Museum Educators, Professional Development Providers, Teachers, Funders, and general public.


Any and all errors are claimed by the authors of this document, Inverness Research, Inc.

Distribution Policy

Inverness Research Inc. grants permission to print and distribute copies.