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Optional Make-Up Assignment

Due Date: June 10th, 2022

If you complete this assignment, your grade on it will replace the grade for the midterm, if the grade on this assignment is higher. For this assignment, you will have to do in-depth research on how a neuroimaging/neurostimulation method functions physically and then try to explain how it operates in a simple and entertaining way. You will also need to select and incorporate one academic cognitive science paper that uses that method. The purpose of this assignment is to “learn by teaching.” That is, sometimes a good way to learn is to try to transform complex ideas into a format (in this case, visuals and a narrative) that can be easily understood and enjoyed by others. This is also challenging! Explaining concepts to different audiences is very hard!

This assignment will involve writing “fanfiction”, including a script and storyboard, for an educationaland-entertaining science program for children. Some of you may be already be familiar with The Magic School Bus (episodes can be found for free on youtube

v=coJ0bXPKebE&list=PLdLFF2q9PvLB9xZOfegbzENBuzI-dy3rH) and are also on some streaming services like Netflix. Scripts can also be found here The core idea of the series is to explain scientific concepts in simple and entertaining terms, by sending 8 school children and their teacher Ms. Frizzle and her Lizard companion Liz, on an adventure with a magic school bus. The bus can change size, shape, and transform the children into anything, such as molecules, animals, or light. It can also equip them with magic tools. Often, the bus will shrink to go inside parts of the body or machines to explain their operation. Episodes end with a brief “explainer” which describes how the story “bent the truth” about how things work in the real world.

Your task is to write the script, and prepare storyboards, for an episode of the Magic School bus on a topic in cognitive science that can be studied with a method from the Neuroscience approach. You will select one or more neuroimaging or neurostimulation methods as well as one academic cognitive science paper that uses this method. Your script and storyboards must use the structure of a magic school bus episode to 1) explain the physical principles on which that neuroimaging/neurostimulation method operates, and 2) explain the experiment in your selected academic paper.

What is the format of a script?

The script should be long enough to include all elements, around 15 pages should be sufficient, 20 is plenty. There is no set size requirement however, as long as all required elements are present. Each line of dialogue should start with a characters name and a colon. Lines of dialogue are separated by spaces. Actions can be described by enclosing them in [square brackets].

What is a storyboard?

A storyboard is like a combination of a rough sketch and a comicbook, that shows a simplified version of the visuals of a movie or TV show. Each panel in the storyboard describes one “shot” in the show/movie, in both words and a very simplified picture. You can see examples here. The drawings in the panel can be very, very simple (i.e. black and white line drawings with stick figures are fine). Your storyboard should have between 4-10 panels per page of script.

Narrative Format of the Episode

Magic School Bus episodes have a very formulaic structure to the story. There is always 1) some conflict between one or more of the children, 2) an adventure which will help settle the conflict and teaches about a scientific concept at the same time, and 3) a resolution to the conflict between the children, and 4) an “explainer” at the very end which describes how the episode “stretched the truth” for the sake of telling an entertaining story.



Level 1 2 3 4
Skill progressing w/ difficulty almost meets expectations meets expectations exceeds expectations
Narrative Structure no clear conflict driving the story conflict present conflict, adventure, and resolution present conflict strongly drives story, adventure, and resolution
Application poor description of physics behind neuroimaging/neur

ostimulation method

some description of physics behind neuroimaging/neur

ostimulation method

description of physics behind neuroimaging/neur

ostimulation method

simple and clear description of physics behind neuroimaging/neur ostimulation method
Thinking and Inquiry selected academic paper not incorporated into narrative academic paper incorporated into narrative academic paper incorporated into all aspects of the narrative academic paper informs conflict, adventure, and resolution
Communication too much/too little detail, explainer fails to describe liberties taken, visuals in storyboard unrelated to topic some detail in both narrative and explainer, visuals somewhat aid comprehension good detail in both narrative and explainer, visuals aid comprehension excellent detail in both narrative and explainer, explained in simple and clear terms, visuals convey concepts clearly
Bonus fails to incorporate

characters traits and humor


incorporates characters traits and humor


characters traits and humor

characters traits and humor clearly present, this could be a real episode of the show


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