Dentsville Middle Schoolers shine as PBS ‘SciGirls’

12/05/2012 12:00 AM

12/05/2012 8:18 AM

Four local girls and a University of South Carolina professor demonstrate some of the science behind physical activity’s effect on the body in the latest episode of the PBS show “SciGirls.”

The show produced by Twin Cities Public Television in Minnesota isn’t shown locally, but you can watch it online by clicking here. The episode is called “Working It Out.”

USC professor Daheia Barr-Anderson was the connection between Minnesota and Columbia. The producers of “SciGirls” heard about Barr-Anderson’s research on physical activity for young people when she was working at the University of Minnesota in 2011. They asked her to help them with a “SciGirls” episode, but she told them she was about to start a new job in South Carolina.

The “SciGirls” producers liked the physical activity idea so much they were willing to take the show on the road. Some of Barr-Anderson’s new colleagues at USC suggested they head to Dent Middle School to find the young participants/actors. Four girls were chosen through an audition process. The girls perform various physical activities to see how strenuous they are.

After two months of emails and Skype sessions to develop the story lines, the crew traveled from cold Minnesota to warm Columbia last April. The filming took about a week. “SciGirls” viewers not only will learn lessons about the science of physical activity, they’ll get a sense of Columbia. The walking segment on the Cayce-West Columbia Riverwalk especially shows off the area.

Barr-Anderson hopes to do a screening of the show next year at USC, where she’s an assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Arnold School of Public Health.

Joey Holleman

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