Mr Frog’s Bad Day

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License: Creative Commons Attribution Mr Frog's Bad Day Tessa, Hannah and Didcot Girls School Senior Science Club
Views: 342
21 Jun, 2011


Accuracy, precision, reliability, and a frog with a very sore head.

Director's Notes:

This film came about after the school Senior Science Club (which is for pupils in Year 9 and above) noticed that many students in our science lessons, including ourselves, struggled to tell the difference between the terms ‘precise’, ‘accurate’ and ‘reliable’. We decided to make a sort film that could be shown in lessons to help people remember, as we knew that correct use of these terms was an easy way to improve marks in all three sciences.

We decided to base our film on the ‘Mr Men’ books, using a simple storyline, bright colours and naming our characters after the terms they were representing and having them behave accordingly. We also introduced Mr Random, to act as a contrast to the three more serious characters and provide more opportunities for comedy. In order to provide an alternative analogy to the dart board usually used to explain these terms, we decided to have our characters playing golf. Mr Random refusing to stand up during the animation of his shot was an unexpected bonus.

Filming was fun but tedious as we had to do the smallest changes to get the smoothest animation possible. This was the reason why Hannah and Tessa got left to do most of it, and the final scene was done entirely by Hannah. To film the live action parts meant digging a hole in the field and hiding a sieve in a small pond. We were supervised; Hannah was filming and Tessa was the one with throwing the ball and had to keep fishing it out the dirty pond water! There are many outtakes because of people(Tessa) getting in the shot and the thrower(Tessa) missing the target or not getting the right angle of rebound. One of the best bits was filming the sounds. It was amazing to see how random objects can make unrelated sound. A golf ball hitting a gas canister is the sound of Mr Frog’s head! Putting the animation together itself was a much a challenge as the filming. We ended up doing it on Hannah’s laptop, in the school holidays, which didn’t like the fact that so many pictures were being used. We had to save after adding five new photos just in case it decided to crash, which happened many times. We also worked on the music (which took many tries to get perfect) at Hannah’s house.

Mr Frog himself, although the film is named after him, began his life with us playing with leftover plastercine after making the other characters, then got put into the film as an animal that Mr Random’s golf ball would always hit. We were trying to come up with the title for the film, we wanted to distance it from anything generally considered boring, and make it sound fun and interesting. Thus, we decided to name it after Mr Frog, as a comic, non-scientific character who we believe would help capture the interest of students who don’t enjoy or found it difficult, the general target audience for the film. And so Mr Frog went from having no real mention to the title character in a month. And we will not be begrudging him his day off tomorrow!

SciCast Notes:

This is a brilliant idea for tackling some complex ideas. Terrific notes, too. Great stuff.

My only quibble is whether the use of a very specific measurement (‘is the ball in the hole, yes or no?’) may not be a great way of explaining the difference between accuracy and precision. Wikipedia is pretty good on this. The diagrams there are particularly helpful, as is this:

If an experiment contains a systematic error, then increasing the sample size generally increases precision but does not improve accuracy.

If Mr. Precise’s ball always hit exactly the same point in the bunker, and Mr. Accurate made it close to the hole but never actually in it, that might have made the distinction more clear, maybe? Useful subject for classroom discussions, though, and a great film for spurring those discussions.

— Jonathan