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Breaking It Down Series

Educational science TV show for 11-15 year olds, featuring experiments and interviews with scientists


Engage students in relevant science learning during the COVID-19 lockdown.


Breaking It Down with Dr Michelle Dickinson broadcast on TVNZ Home Learning Papa Kāinga TV during COVID-19 lockdowns.


Create and produce an educational TV show showcasing real scientists and their research in a fun, educational format for students aged 9-14 years.


Around 95,000 households tuned in daily during the lockdowns. Leading scientists from research institutes and universities were able to share their research with students, magnifying the reach of their discipline while also inspiring students to see real-life examples of their subject content.


TVNZ’s Home Learning | Papa Kāinga TV service was created to provide educational content when schools closed during the COVID-19 lockdowns in New Zealand.

All over the country, teachers reported that their students’ science learning was being held back as they could not access their usual science labs and equipment.

Nanogirl Labs was tasked with creating a science education program that would be engaging, fun, and enable students to do what they were now not able to without a classroom—practical science experiments. We created twelve 30-minute educational shows called Breaking It Down with Dr Michelle Dickinson.

These shows were designed to provide both positive scientist role models working in the field as well as hands-on relevant science experiments that could be done at home.

The show let teachers and students watch interviews with prominent New Zealand scientists who discussed their research and how it was relevant to the scientific content being taught as part of the curriculum. To help overcome the lack of access to science labs during the COVID lock-down period, hands-on experiments were created that only used household equipment to empower students to still carry out relevant science experiments at home which were designed to reinforce the subject learning.

Each episode was supported with free downloadable lesson plans and other resources for teachers to help them to continue with the content learning. 

One of the main challenges around this project was the need for a fast turnaround (under two weeks from ideation to episode release). The whole series was also entirely produced, filmed, and edited by a team living in lockdown, meaning everything had to be done remotely. 

This project was successful thanks to it using a lean design and production approach and was possible through a partnership with production company Corner Store to help co-write, direct and edit remotely through video conferencing and cloud sharing to our in-house film studio. 

“This show has enabled Kiwi kids to experience a new way of learning subjects that are often perceived as 'hard'. By creating free teacher resources for each episode, we hope to help teachers during these challenging times while also connecting students to real Kiwis in NZ using STEM knowledge to help change the world.”
—Dr Michelle Dickinson

We work globally with partners who share our passion—creating opportunity through STEM.

If you’d like to join us on our mission, please get in touch.

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