This is one segment in a series of posts about storytelling.  These posts will focus on the use of storytelling as an effective means of communication, education, and marketing.  Storytelling is a wonderful way to share complex ideas in a memorable manner.

In the last two posts, we looked at how scientists can use the following classical story types when sharing their research: the quest, destroy the monster, rebirth, rags to riches, and tragedy.  We showed that scientists are not limited to describing their research in terms of a “quest” for knowledge.  They can use any of the archetypes to connect with others and share that science isn’t just dry facts and figures. In the previous posts, we focused primarily on adult audiences comprised of investors, government officials, and scientific colleagues.  Today, we’ll look at how the journey and return and the comedy archetypes can be used to fascinate, inspire, and teach others, particularly children.  At Motionbirth, we truly believe that scientific storytelling can ignite people’s passion for science regardless of their age!

Why do so many great talks start with a joke?  Humor grabs people’s attention and is a great ice breaker.  Ted Power (Professor of Psychology at Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois) has taught students of various ages for many years and is a huge proponent of using humor when teaching for several reasons.  In one of his articles (Engaging Students With Humor) , he explains that comedy engages students, makes them comfortable enough to ask questions, and enhances their learning.  Wouldn’t you love to share your data in a way that not only teaches the audience the important data, but also captivates the listeners and stirs them to ask questions? Funny stories and vignettes are a great way to do all of these things.

In addition to humorous stories, journey and return stories are great way to engross people of all ages with science.  Who isn’t fascinated by Jacques Cousteau’s undersea explorations or the astronauts’ journey to the moon?  These brave explorers left the world they knew for the unknown and returned with great stories!  Why were these journeys so compelling and captivating? One reason that these scientific explorers got our attention was their use of videos to chronicle their adventures.  These videos let viewers see and experience what they did.  But what if you work on a cell signaling pathway? Is there a way for your audience to “travel” to that setting with you?  Absolutely!  The artists and animators at Motionbirth love helping researchers craft stunning videos that show the world they’re studying.  These beautiful videos help researchers share the world that they’re studying.  Audience members can “travel” into a cell and see how all the components interact!  These videos are a great way to share complex data with anyone.  Many of us today, kids included, spend hours in front of a screen. Why not take advantage of this and get people hooked on science using videos showcasing your great scientific discoveries?

Hopefully, this series of posts describing how classical narratives can be used for scientific storytelling has inspired you to reconsider how you present your work.  Further, we hope that you consider creating your own movie with the help of Motionbirth so that your scientific discoveries can fascinate and inspire the world!