Reality TV You’ll Want Your Kids Watching

by Amy Marcott on August 15, 2012 · 0 comments

in Campus Culture, Classroom, IAP, Learning, Science, Student Life

From left: Students Dan and Hansol have a little fun in the lab during one episode.

From left: Students Dan and Hansol have a little fun in the lab during one episode. Click to enlarge.

Each January, a group of MIT freshmen spend four weeks taking a class with a significant prize: pass Introductory Lab Techniques (a.k.a. 5.301) and they are guaranteed a job in an MIT research lab. How do they handle the high-stakes pressure? Find out this fall in ChemLab Boot Camp, an 11-episode reality series brought to you by OpenCourseWare (OCW) and Dow Chemical Company.

The show documents the successes and failures of 14 students as they struggle to complete experiments in nuclear magnetic resonance, column chromatography, spectrophotometry, and more. Watch them master the intricacies of working with solvents and compete to grow the largest crystals. The result is part open educational resource, part reality TV and allows viewers a unique glimpse into the lives of real students.

The videos are also aimed at generating interest in science and engineering careers and illustrating the value of hands-on experience. “We hope to show the human side of our field and to inspire young people to want to become the next generation of chemists,” said John Essigmann SM ’72, PhD ’76, MIT chemistry professor and the show’s executive producer.

ChemLab Boot Camp is part of OCW’s Highlights for High School, which organizes more than 70 introductory-level courses and 2,700 individual resources for use by students and educators of AP curricula.

A new episode, each two to five minutes long and filmed last January, will be released weekly starting Sept. 18. Check out the trailer below and sign up for email notifications of episode releases and special content.

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