"The day the Mesozoic died"

A press release we received from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute:

HHMI Premieres New Film Showcasing One of Science’s Greatest Detective Stories

Film to Debut at NABT Conference

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute will premiere, “The Day the Mesozoic Died,” a new film that chronicles one of science’s greatest detective stories, at this year’s National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) conference.

The film retraces the extraordinary investigative work behind the stunning discovery that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, triggering the mass extinction of dinosaurs and many other species of animals, plants and microorganisms. The Mesozoic Era, sometimes referred to as the Age of Reptiles, lasted from approximately 250-66 million years ago.

[You may see 3 short clips here.]

Sean B. Carroll, HHMI vice president for science education and the film’s executive producer, will introduce the story to teachers on October 31 during the second annual HHMI Night at the Movies at the NABT conference in Dallas, Texas. Following the film, Carroll will host a panel discussion with teachers attending the conference.

“This film will help teachers and students understand the amazing story behind one of the revolutionary discoveries of the last 100 years,” said Carroll. “It touches on important concepts in physics, geology, biology and chemistry, while taking students to key locations in Italy, Spain, Texas, and North Dakota. We believe it’s a story that can play in any science classroom.”

“The Day the Mesozoic Died” was produced by Emmy-winning filmmaker Sarah Holt and HHMI’s Educational Resources Group. The 33-minute film is divided into three acts to facilitate its use in the classroom.

The film will be provided to teachers at the NABT premiere and is also freely available to the education community for download or by DVD order on HHMI’s BioInteractive website. HHMI’s Educational Resources Group has developed an extensive set of downloadable teaching materials that will help teachers use the film in their classrooms.

HHMI debuted its first three short films, “The Making of the Fittest” series, at last year’s NABT conference. Those films address key topics in evolutionary biology.

“The main goals of our short classroom films are to bring important scientific discoveries and ideas to life and to illustrate the scientific process,” said Carroll. “The classroom adoption of our first three short films has far exceeded our expectations.”

Carroll notes that to date, HHMI has distributed about 25,000 DVDs containing the short films and there have been about 80,000 downloads of the films from HHMI’s web site. User surveys indicate that more than one million students from middle school to college age have viewed the films.

The short films have also garnered critical notice, winning the 2012 Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s inaugural Science Media Award in the Short Film category; the 2012 Silver Telly Award in the Online Video category; and The Scientist’s 2012 Labby Multimedia Award in the video category.

Watch “The Day the Mesozoic Died”: