Today’s the day chemists everywhere revel in their geekiness and celebrate Avogadro’s number, 6.022 x 1023. This morning, the Internetz are atwitter with love for the video you see below: “A Molar Eclipse of the Heart.”
As soon as I saw this delightful clip, I had to know where it came from. Who are these folks who unabashedly love science so much that they spent what I assume was a lengthy period piecing it together?
The answer is the Virtual School. It’s an open education program that, with the help of teachers and other education enthusiasts, puts together understandable, catchy videos about various topics. It’s all in an attempt to “revolutionize global education by creating equal access to the highest quality secondary education for learners around the world—anytime, anywhere, and completely free of charge.” That’s a direct quote from the Virtual School team. I contacted them this morning while I was still buzzing from seeing their tribute to The Mole.
What follows are some of their other answers to my questions, edited only minimally for spelling and grammar.
What is the goal of the Virtual School?
We want to fully cover each subject with engaging learning videos. Passionate specialist teachers and subject matter experts are joining our movement and sharing their expert knowledge. For the topics they feel most passionate about, they record their explanations of important concepts as concise bites of knowledge. Next, the Virtual School’s creative design team enhances these explanations using effective animations to trigger learners’ knowledge construction and retention. These open educational resources really suit 21st-century learners’ interests and are made available free of charge on our YouTube EDU partner channel.
With their vast knowledge base in chemistry, the American Chemical Society’s members would be very welcome contributors. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in helping us teach learners around the world!
What inspired the making of this video?
To convey the concept of the mole, the Virtual School chose a catchy song that we knew would be difficult to forget. The educational lyrics ensure that the viewer remembers the concept well. Visually, we wanted to create an engaging, unique video that complemented the lyrics and would stay in people’s minds. [Thank you, Virtual School, this has been stuck in my head now for hours.]
Are the video makers chemists?
The video was made by a very diverse team: It is an amalgamation of styles and abilities that blend together perfectly. The lyrics were written by a biologist/documentary maker and sung by a professional singer. Filming was done by a TV researcher, and the animations were created by an animator, artist, and media freelancer. Everybody brought a different ability to the table. What brings us together is a common passion for science and for providing engaging learning to students around the world.
Why do you all love the mole so much?
The Mole is a difficult but fascinating concept. It transcends cultures, languages, and subjects. It’s fantastic that a discovery made in the 1800s is still as correct and prevalent in modern-day society as it was then. And there’s a whole day dedicated to it! Once you grasp it, it’s so simple and gives you a framework to compare the atomic level with what we see and interact with. As our song says: “For any type of matter solid, liquid, or gas, the grams within a mole will equal atomic mass.” That pretty much sums it up!
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