For education oriented videos, the focus is often on information. Indeed, getting the right facts is important in an age when misinformation is quite common. You can also find videos that provide facts. At Kainaat Studios, we have been trying to focus on wonder and building curiosity, along with information. Some of us are heavily influenced by Carl Sagan, who was uniquely gifted in this type of scientific story-telling. Our videos for adults follow this philosophy. In fact, we are now collaborating with IAU OAO to create such video in English as well.
However, we found that doing this for 5th-10th graders is quite challenging. You have to find the right balance of information, tone, humor, and challenge to keep the kids interested. It took us many many tries to get to the first episode of Kainaat Kids, and several re-writes for subsequent episodes. This has required deep coordination between the hosts, writers, the animator, and the editor. The response has been quite encouraging. As mentioned above, two large school systems, TCF and Dawood Foundation schools, have incorporated our videos in their curriculum. In addition, segments of our videos are part of the soon-to-open astronomy exhibit at Magnifiscience Centre in Karachi (https://magnifiscience.org/).
But these videos, in terms of topics, dovetailed astronomy content is Pakistan’s curriculum. Those topics have been covered. We now want to build a broader video platform for wonder and curiosity in Urdu, aimed at the same age group: Grades 5-10. For this purpose we are creating a bi-weekly astronomy video series called “Kainaati Khabrain” or Cosmic News. The total length of each episode will be 7-8 minutes, and it will have 5 segments: 1) Two recent news stories digested for kids, 2) a fun and/or historical fact about space, 3) what can we go outside and see at night, 4) common misconceptions, and 5) questions from kids. It will primarily be hosted by Roshaan Bukhari (who is also a writer and host for Kainaat Kids). The space segment will be hosted by Yumna Majeed (she is also the IAU outreach coordinator in Pakistan). The “common misconceptions” segment will be fully animated and it will feature our recurring character of news anchor, who thinks highly of himself but is always wrong.
There are not many science shows like this for kids. And we know that this is a massive undertaking. But we have the necessary production experience, and we also think that this is the type of shows that can make an impact and create young kids interested in the sciences. We will, of course, use our existing collaboration with TCF and Dawood Foundation schools, as well as the Magnifiscience Centre to create an active engagement the students through comments and live events. One of the reasons for creating a “segmented” show is that, through shorter clips, we can expand our presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok as well.