________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 13 . . . . March 2, 2001

How Do They Series.

Don White (Director). George Johnson (Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1998.

Grades 2 - 6 / Ages 7 - 11.
Review by Gail Hamilton.



How Do They... Knit a Chain Fence?

3 min., 39 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order Number: C0197 163.

**** /4


How Do They... Make Potato Chips?

4 min., 17 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order Number: C0197 165.

**** /4


How Do They... Braid Rope?

4 min., 8 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order Number: C0197 162.

**** /4


How Do They... Put the Centers in Chocolates?

4 min., 47 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order Number: C0197 164.

**** /4

All four videos are $99.95. Order Number: 193C 0197 166/EC009.

Guaranteed to fascinate their audiences, these brief, wordless videos, averaging just over 4 minutes in length, grab and sustain viewers' attention and offer answers to often-asked questions. Each video describes, via close-up photography, the process of making a commonly used or eaten object. Due to their brevity, it would be beneficial to replay the videos several times to ensure that all of the steps in the featured process are clearly understood (if, in fact, that is the purpose for viewing). The inside of each video case contains a handy user's guide with a fairly detailed description of the process, related vocabulary and some suggested activities for the elementary classroom. These cross-curricular activities encourage creativity and spark further research. Descriptive writing (language arts), measurement (math) and understanding the difference between primary and secondary industries (social studies) are just a few of the activities highlighted, but the creative teacher will find a dozen more ways to enrich and extend students' learning. After examining the intricate and specialized machinery in these most interesting "short snapper" videos, the big question among viewers is sure to be: "How do people invent all this stuff?"

      The rope-making process always starts with the thinnest of fibres, no matter how large the finished product. Thickness, pattern and length all depend on the purpose for which the rope is intended. Several types of machines are shown, each of them employing a different method of braiding.

      The process for making potato chips is fairly straightforward. Potatoes are washed, sorted by size, sliced, then dumped into a huge vat of hot oil for frying. From the vat, the chips are sent through a drying machine, then through salting drums or to a spice dispenser for additional flavouring. Next, a conveyor belt transports the chips to a weighing and bagging machine, and, finally, the sealed bags of chips are packed in large boxes for distribution to retail outlets.

      How Do They Knit a Chain-Link Fence shows the coating of metal coils with hot liquid vinyl and the formation of a winding pattern which is then woven or "knit" to make lengths of fencing.

      The video featuring chocolate-making covers two different processes: moulding (chocolate is poured into moulds, the shells are cooled and filled with liquid centers, then more chocolate is added to create the confection bottom), and enrobing (coating an already firm center with chocolate). Almost all of the work is done by machines, but a few of the finishing touches, such as delicate swirls, can be done by hand.

      Sure to inspire inventiveness!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird's Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364