Making the monochromatic mad scientist


They say you can’t teach creativity, but if anywhere can even come close it has to be the Children’s Creativity Museum here in San Francisco.

The Museum’s stated aim is to “nurture the 3C’s of 21st-century skills – Creativity, Collaboration and Communication – in all youth and families. We believe that the ability to think critically, collaborate broadly, communicate effectively and generate and prototype multiple solutions, is the core of a 21st-century education.” I just couldn’t agree more; and what’s more we loved the way they go about doing it.

Music video.

We spent several thoroughly satisfying hours creating figures with wire and modelling clay and then taking them through their paces in a stop-motion video production. Declan made a snow leopard, Callum a monochromatic mad scientist and Jennifer made a penguin. My own contribution was a snakey-thing with big eyes and an inverted carroty cyclops. The results wont win any Oscars but it was just such fun to make something like this with quality materials and environments. The end result was saved and emailed to us by Museum staff later in the afternoon and is now available here.

We moved on to create a film against a green screen. Both boys chose to make an advertisement for an anti-zombie protection thing – Zom-b-gone. The production was entertaining and they had an opportunity to have a great time experimenting with the green screen. These movies were burned to CD for some reason rather than emailed so will take longer to share with the world.


Then to the Innovation Lab where they pulled a task out of a hat and were handed a box of materials to create something with. Callum got “Make a device to allow animals to communicate with each other”, Declan had “Make a ladder for a fish”. Their contraptions were entertaining to say the least. Declan went on to build a second thing: an animal capable of going on land and water and he now won’t be parted from his rather nifty-looking creation.

Finally the boys played with two more green screen areas. A sort of kaleidoscope area where they got to experiment with effects and then the sound area where they made a music video. The music video was hysterical and really I’m going to keep it in a and treasure it and pull it out for their 21st birthday parties. To save their blushes it wont be seen before then though.

San Francisco is so lucky to have places like the Exploratorium and the Children’s Creativity Museum and our kids are so lucky to be able to visit them. We all had an absolutely fabulous time today; and who knows, maybe some creativity rubbed off on us too.

Click here to see the Mad scientist video of a mad wheelchair-bound scientist about to press a button to blow up the world until stopped by an unusual group of heroes.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

3 thoughts on “Making the monochromatic mad scientist

Leave a Reply