National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) on Monday unveiled a series of 3D science animations featuring Aboriginal characters and themes with the aim of fostering science education among Aboriginal children.
The seven animations, produced by a local team of more than 100 artists, Aborigines, musicians, scientists and science teachers over a period of five years and partly funded by the National Science Council, are voiced in the Atayal language and portray a vivid picture of Aboriginal people in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the world as seen from the perspective of four Atayal children.
The series of 22-minute 3D animations, titled Yabit Flying Squirrel Tribe, is being broadcast on Taiwan Indigenous Television. The series, which began on Monday, will be aired on weekdays until Tuesday next week.
One of the animations premiered at a press conference to launch the series. In the animation, two Atayal boys, Tin Tin and Tola, get into trouble after stealing salted fish that were supposed to be reserved as a treat for their visiting teacher. After being reprimanded, the boys were told to help with the preparation of the fish and were taught the scientific principles behind one of the oldest methods of preserving food.
Fu Li-yu (傅麗玉), a professor at NTHU’s Center for Teacher Education who initiated and produced the animations, said she decided to make the films because she felt Aboriginal people needed science education in their own language and from their own perspective.
Fu said that one of the most difficult parts in the production was the problem of language, as many scientific terms and concepts do not exist in the Atayal language.
In addition to the animation, an educational Web site was also launched to allow teachers to download teaching materials to accompany the animations.