Can I Swim in Lake Ontario?


Water quality isn't exactly exciting. Especially if you're five years old. The Rochester Museum and Science Center challenged us to redesign an exhibit of our choice, with the goal of making it more engaging for the children who visit. After scouting out the museum, I choose take on the topic of water quality in Lake Ontario. I hoped to turn a boring, text-based slideshow display about water pollution into a short, fun, and entertaining educational video.


Class Project, RMSC

6 Weeks, Spring 2016

Concept, Research, Illustration, Animation

"I'm just a kid, and the systemic issue of water pollution is a nightmare."

-Simple Plan

I choose to feature two children as the video's main characters in an effort to make the themes of the video relatable to child viewers. By allowing children to see themselves or their friends in the characters, children can better conceptualize the effects of water quality in their own lives.  I hoped to elevate water pollution from an abstract concept by providing children with a familiar context.

Bringing the science to life

To make science explanations understandable and engaging, I focused on distilling the difficult concepts into relatable metaphors. These metaphors, including depictions like teetor totters, lazy river races, and lasers, allowed children to broadly grasp the high level concepts in terms that carried meaning.

With the story's structure, I also focused on repetition. I introduced each new concept in the same format and included repeated elements and characters in an effort to provide organization and improve the retention of knowledge gained.

What should children take away from an exhibit about the local region's water quality? 

I began the project by researching the topic of water pollution itself, gathering information from both the exhibit and outside scientific resources. From this research, I developed specific objectives that I wanted viewers to take away. The intent was to introduce the problem, apply a significance and gravity to the problem, and offer potential solutions through action. This last of objective was particularly important since the current version of the exhibit does not provide a resolution for closure.



Internalizing the real harm of water pollution to people, animals, and the environment


Understanding the personal relevancy and embracing individual accountability


Introducing a call to action, outlining solutions, and evoking a passion for change

Quirky characters for kids.

I aimed to create characters will appeal, giving each one a playful personality. I kept the illustrations rounded, colorful, and friendly in an effort to maket them approachable to children. I also added elements of humor through the character design, character motion, and sound effects.