Did you know that Sherri Seligson, (author of Apologia’s Marine Biology and former marine biologist at Walt Disney World’s The Living Seas pavilion at EPCOT Center, AND the homeschooling mother of four) has created curriculum specifically for the Dolphin Tale movie coming out September 23rd?
Make sure and register at HomeschoolMovieClub.com and download this awesome curriculum written for multiple ages with fun activity mini-books and coloring pages for little ones and projects that extend all the way through upper grades! It is awesome!
Here is a little bit about her visit to the Dolphin Tale set:
By Sherri Seligson
Marine biologist and Apologia science author Sherri Seligson was invited to the visit the set of a family film currently shooting in Clearwater, Florida. We asked Sherri to provide a report on the movie and on the real-life scientific research that inspired the film. What do a dolphin, an injured soldier, a homeschooler, and Morgan Freeman have in common? No, I’m not setting you up for a joke. I want to share with you some amazing things I learned on the set of the upcoming feature film Dolphin Tale.
The movie is based on the compelling true story of a young dolphin that became entangled in the ropes of a crab trap and was subsequently taken to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The dolphin’s injuries were severe, and “Winter” had little possibility of survival. Yet she was cared for round the clock by a team of veterinarians and professional marine mammal specialists. Amazingly, Winter overcame the monumental odds, resisting infection and learning to feed on formula from a bottle. Unfortunately, the injuries to her tail were so severe that the tissue began to deteriorate, eventually shedding off.
How was this tail-less dolphin going to survive now? She would have great difficulty swimming. Dolphins swim dorso-ventrally, moving their tails up and down, unlike sharks and fish which swim laterally, or side to side. Without her tail, Winter would not have adequate thrust to maneuver. But she again amazed her caregivers by beginning to swim using her pectoral fins and moving her tail-less end from side to side like a fish!
However, this created yet another health concern. Like all other mammals, a dolphin’s spine is designed for stronger movement from front to back, and there was a chance that the overdevelopment of her lateral muscles could cause her spinal problems such as scoliosis.
Enter a company that provides prosthetic devices for people who have lost limbs. The scientists offered to work on a prosthetic tail for Winter, hoping that this device would enable her to swim more naturally. After creating several tail prototypes, they came up with a design that enables Winter to swim with a dolphin’s natural movement. As a result of their research, these same scientists have developed better artificial limbs and a new material called “Winter’s Gel” that makes wearing prosthetic devices much less painful for humans.
Winter’s remarkable story has inspired and encouraged many individuals who wear prosthetic devices, from wounded soldiers to children who have been injured in accidents. The account of her survival caught the attention of the producers of the Oscar-winning movie The Blind Side, and Winter’s tale is now being filmed in Clearwater Beach. Winter shares the screen with an outstanding cast of human actors, including Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Harry Connick, Jr.
One of the more intriguing elements of the story is that the marine biologist who rescues Winter in the movie is homeschooling his daughter. Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the young girl who plays the daughter, is also homeschooled in real life! I had the opportunity to interview several of the actors on the set, including Cozi. She was very well spoken and quite forthcoming about her Christian faith.
Other actors on the set also had positive things to say about homeschooling. Morgan Freeman, whose granddaughter has been homeschooled, told me that children in a traditional school setting often have difficulty focusing on the material being presented. He said that we need to “look at what children are interested in and add an educational element to make them value it.” He also addressed our “ancient education system” and the fact that children are “dry sponges,” able to learn so much if we will just build on their natural desire to discover new things.
Grace Hill Media and Alcon Entertainment are hoping to develop an educational guide to the movie and make it available to homeschoolers who might be interested in turning this compelling story into an educational endeavor. Perhaps with the production of this film and educational material, students will be encouraged to learn more about astonishing sea creatures and the wonderful wisdom of the all-knowing God who created them.