Reviews of Hawkhill Programs
Reviews of Hawkhill Programs

"Scientific Literacy includes seeing the scientific endeavor in the light of cultural and intellectual history." --AAAS Project 2061

The following pages reprint a sampling of reviews of Hawkhill video programs in professional journals and in a few cases testimonials from customers. Unfortunately educational review magazines tend to be quite slow in reviewing new programs (our new CD-ROM on THE GENE for instance, or our other programs released in 1999 and 2000) so we cannot yet reprint reviews of our newest programs. When they do become available we will post them on our web site. Complete scripts for most of our programs are now available for your reading and possible downloading on our Hawkhill web site: Some of the most popular programs also have short clips that you can view on your computer using Quicktime software. If you do not have Quicktime installed on your computer, you can get this software at no charge from this web site:

Global Warming

"What will happen to the world's climate in a few decades? Are the polar ice caps beginning to melt? The experts disagree. One way to introduce your students to the facts and the controversy is with the GLOBAL WARMING live-action video. Featured are interviews with ten prominent scientists in climatology and the environment who agree about the greenhouse effect but not about future climate changes.

"One of a nine-part series for high school and junior college courses, GLOBAL WARMING helps science teachers bring complicated issues involved in science, technology and society into the classroom. Arousing curiosity and exploration of controversial views, the interviews provide controversy, wisdom and some surprises.

"We found GLOBAL WARMING to be an excellent introduction to the nature of science and scientists, and recommend it as a valuable addition to science courses."

--FOCUS, Journal of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA.

"The video GLOBAL WARMING provides an excellent overview of the complex issues of global climate ... the range of expertise of those giving opinions is dazzling."

--AAAS Science Books and Films

"GLOBAL WARMING features interviews with scientists and environmentalists. Designed for use in high school and college classrooms, this 34-minute full-motion video asks questions such as, Is global warming a near certainty as many claim? Or is it a provocative but highly uncertain hypothesis, as some climate and weather experts think? Some of the experts interviewed are Thomas Lovejoy of Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Institution, Richard Lindzen of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Howard Odum, an ecologist at the University of Florida."

--Science Activities

The Gene

"Designed for use in secondary schools, colleges, gifted/talented programs, and adult education, THE GENE presents a stimulating history of genetics from Mendel through recombinant DNA. The video does not make the error of trying to teach too much in too brief a time. Part one, `Monsters to Mendel to DNA' presents genetics in a historical context, and part two, `What Is a Gene and How Does It Work' conveys some of the current excitement in molecular genetics. The technical information (simple Mendelian genetics, the structure and replication of DNA, the function of RNA, and a strategy for cloning DNA) is clearly laid out. ... the lively narration conveys much excitement, and the music by Michael Stonebarger is both interesting and pleasing. Also, the scenes of Mendel's abandoned garden in Brunn are poignant. The teacher's guide's suggestions for investigation and discussion are unusually intelligent."

--John B. Ferguson, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY in AAAS Science Books and Films.

"This two-part series begins with an above-average treatment of the historical progress toward the understanding of genetics. Secondary teachers will be pleased with its colorful background on Gregor Mendel and the photos and bibliographic sketches of such modern geneticists as Rosalind Franklin, Thomas Hunt Morgan, and Watson and Crick (with video footage of the Eagle Pub, at Cambridge, where they often met). This type of supplementary audiovisual provides just the type of time and cultural framework that is so important to adolescents as they strive to appreciate the meaning of genetic debates. A look at the Cetus Corporation's work in genetic engineering makes the program timely.

"Part 2 deals with genetic engineering at a level that might soon be dated by journal standards but will still exceed most current texts. The video does not duplicate text material. I recommend THE GENE for the secondary and college levels."

--Paul Kelley in The Science Teacher

"THE GENE is a high-quality, well-illustrated production which guides the viewer through the discovery of heredity in Mendel's experiments through recombinant DNA experiments 130 years later. Our current understanding results from work done by August Weismann, Herman Muller, James Watson and Francis Crick, Linus Pauling and Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkens in the 1950s, especially Watson and Crick's double helix model (1953). The production describes DNA in terms that are defined and stressed through repetition. The text includes addresses of associations for further information on genetic disease. Recommended."

--David Lyons, Oxnard Public Library, California in Library Journal

"I used the book and the video as a classroom pilot ... it was used with 150 students of various academic abilities .. I am thrilled with this new approach to science and will be ordering more booklets this summer."

--Mary Gruhl, Merrimack High School, Merrimack, NH.

The Gene on CD-ROM

"Long before Dolly made cloning a household word, scientists were tampering with the infrastructure of the gene. As a result, our knowledge of the intricacies of DNA and how it functions has quickly grown beyond what can be covered in a single chapter of a science textbook. THE GENE on CD-ROM responds to this information explosion by offering a genetics textbook on CD, detailing the role and function of genes and exploring the implications of genetic research. Each of the 10 chapters begins with several short video segments and concludes with a set of interactive study questions. For example, Chapter Two, Gregor Mendels' Garden, introduces the grandfather of genetic research in two concise videos, each followed by study questions. Students can also review key concepts--from the principle of heredity to the causes of genetic mutation--in a reproducible Key Points section of each chapter. Mastery quizzes, exploration exercises, and reserach tasks add to the extensive activities offered in each chapter. While teachers will like to familiar textbook format for transmitting complex information, features unique to the CD--such as built-in pacing options, Internet research capabilities, and informative videos--add a helpful, interactive dimension to the traditional textbook. Additionally, the program can be used in either a self-paced environment or with a projector for whole-class activities."

--Mike Brown, Director of Coastal Studies and Technology Center and science teacher in Seaside, Oregon. One of two featured "Quick Picks" in Technology and Learning. March, 2001.

"Easy-to-understand content is presented in a user-friendly format, and proceeds in a logical order. The product is easy to use and runs without installation. All the links work, and printing was fine on a Windows 98 system in spite of the text note that printing would work better if using a Macintosh."

--Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, Pennsylvania in School Library Journal, March, 2001.

The Origin of Species--Creationism and Evolution

"This video is well done and informative but misleading. It has an excellent discussion on evolution but little information on creationism. Despite this, it would be a good introduction for a high school biology class. The producers have done an excellent job of describing evolutionary theory. They trace the development of natural history from the time of the ancient Greeks to that of Charles Darwin, and quite a bit of the video is devoted to Darwin's voyage on the Beagle.

"The producers explain how Darwin's observations differed from the creationist views of the time and how he developed the theory of natural selection.. Later in the video, viewers learn more up-to-date information about evolution, such as how scientists study DNA and what punctuated evolution is.

"Creationism is mentioned throughout the video, however, very little is presented about this view. None of the arguments for creation science are brought forth, nor refuted. Included with the video are a script and a brief bibliography."

--Douglas Vonderheld, The Science Teacher, October, 1999.

"Video clearly and convincingly explains why creationism was rejected and evolution almost universally adopted by the scientific community."

--Journal of College Science Teaching

"An onscreen host travels to the lush Galapagos Islands to explain the origins and meaning of Darwin's theory of evolution, With sharp wildlife footage, art prints, charts, and other visuals as a backdrop, Darwin's theory of natural selection is clearly discussed. Stressing that there should be no conflict between religious beliefs and scientific theories of evolution, this program tackles a potentially controversial topic in a reasoned, straightforward manner. This approach helps defuse possible controversy while explaining the unfolding of life on the planet."

--Sue-Ellen Beauregard, Booklist

The Atom

"THE ATOM traces man's search for the ultimate unit of matter, from Greek philosophers to the present concept of the atom. The series strength lies in just the right combination of history, science and application. The choice in historical portraits, notebooks sketches and historical laboratories sets the scene for the explanation of scientific discoveries. These discoveries are then shown in applications from genetics to nuclear physics to video games. The series is current and fast moving. It can be used in group or individual instruction. Libraries would find THE ATOM a useful resource for science literacy, resource for review material. In addition, science classes would find the video appropriate as either introduction or review material."

--Nancy Moreau, Physics Dept. Roy C. Ketcham High School. Wappingers, NY in Library Journal.

"I am writing to tell you of my appreciation of your video THE ATOM. I have used it in classes ranging from lower level introductory science through chemistry. It is well received at all levels."

--Greg Presnall, Princeton High School, Princeton, WI

"Dear Hawkhill: Your videos are great!. THE ATOM is smashing!! Nice work."

--Dr. R.A. Boolootian, Chairman Science Dept., Mirman School for the Gifted, Los Angeles, CA.

Scientific Methods and Values

"SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND VALUES is an excellent treatment of a difficult topic. Only `doing' science could improve on this presentation. I highly recommend it for college classes of philosophy, science methods for would-be-teachers, and high school science classes, especially upper classes. The particular emphasis given the humanness of scientists is really great in this day of getting science and scientists `out of the closet.'"

--John C. Coulter, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN in American Biology Teacher.

"I have ordered 82 copies of your excellent SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND VALUES to be used in the team-taught Capstone (interdisciplinary) course this spring. ... I have shown the SCIENTIFIC METHODS book to some of these other teachers, and they have been as enthusiastic about it as the three of us who will teach the course. The whole method of presentation, the Time Line and Maps are beautiful, enabling teachers to develop all kinds of themes around the structures so clearly presented in your book... A not-so-insignificant aspect of your book for students: with their limited time, limited reading ability, and limited financial means, your book helps meet their special needs."

--Katharine W. McLean, Dept of Chemistry, Phoenix College, Phoenix, AZ. (Note: The "Book" she ordered more copies of is the guide that accompanies our video SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND VALUES.)

"SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND VALUES is an excellent introduction to the nature of science and scientists. Part One, THE GROWTH OF SCIENCE, begins the exposition some 2500 years ago and aptly illustrates the roots of science in technology, introduces the age of Galileo and the origin of experimental science, and ends by describing and illustrating the variety of individuals who have become great scientists. Part Two, THE METHODS AND VALUES OF SCIENCE, emphasizes that there is no single scientific method and characterizes scientists as persons who prefer sober caution and probabilistic statements. It also stresses that science builds on its previous discoveries and that testability is an inherent characteristic of science. The set's pace is excellent, the narration is interesting, and the illustrations are commanding. This fine work will be an excellent addition to instruction that is aimed at revealing the nature of science. I highly recommend it for introductory courses."

--Hans O. Anderson, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN (former president of the National Science Teachers Association.) in AAAS Science Books and Films.

"We are most impressed by SCIENTIFIC METHODS AND VALUES and ENERGY AND SOCIETY... Well done!"

--Joe Richter, Science Chair, Valley Lutheran High School, Phoenix, AZ.


"Viewers are introduced to the ecosystem that comprises one-fifth of the world's land area in this informative production. The video covers the Sahara Desert in North Africa as well as the southwestern deserts of the U.S. (Mohave, Sonora, Colorado and Great Basin). It is interesting to note that Antarctica and the Arctic are deserts, as is populated, thriving, southern California. During live-action sequences, the narrator contrasts deserts all over the world and points out the basics required to support life where there is little rainfall. Action shots of American deserts show the abundance of insect, animal, and amphibian life as well as the proliferation of blooms after a rain. Issues presented for consideration include th ecological impact of populated desert regions having to import water, the suitability of alternative sources of energy such as solar and wind power and desalination of water to support life. In only one instance visuals of camels and people in the Sahara appear as colorful blurs, but this does not detract from the overall presentation. The guide includes the entire script. A useful purchase for school libraries for use in science, geography, and world culture classes."

--Joanne K. Hammond, Chambersburg Area Middle School, PA in School Library Journal.

Energy and Society

"Part one of this video is a brief history of the human use of energy. Part two examines energy futures and features interviews with five experts. The program's greatest strength is its point of view and that of the experts who are interviewed. Rather than devote a great deal of time to criticizing present energy technologies and the problems they have produced, this program correctly assumes that things must be done differently in the future. Among those interviewed in the film are Amory Lovins and a manager of a small utility, as well as three experts on photovoltaics, fusion, and passive solar energy. These technologies are not fully explained; to attempt to do so in 40 minutes is clearly not the producer's objective. In contrast to other films that desperately try to defend failed technologies, this one conveys the message that these warm, cheerful, optimistic, and practical people are discussing alternatives worthy of society's attention and support. Among these promising alternatives are Harvey Taylor's solar home and an Osage, Iowa utility, which have already reduced pollution and energy costs. Photovoltaic cells are rapidly becoming cost effective, and fusion holds great promise for the future. I recommend this film for its refreshingly optimistic message and tone."

--Thomas Tanner, Iowa State University, Ames, IA in AAAS Science Books and Films.

Energy for Tomorrow

"Your materials, ENERGY FOR TOMORROW (as well as other programs in your SCIENCE AND SOCIETY series), are the most balanced I have ever seen. The insistence on presenting a balanced picture of complex issues is seen in your excellent newsletter as well as your other tapes. Again, you are to be congratulated on bringing the many sides of complex situations together in exciting, accurate, and balanced videos."

--Emil Joseph Piel, STS Curriculum and Teacher Workshops, Dept. of Technology and Society, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY.

Genetic Engineering

"GENETIC ENGINEERING is intended to introduce a general audience to the social and ethical issues arising from the growth and development of biotechnology. Overall, the video does a fine job. It starts with an easy-to-follow preamble that discusses what current genetic engineering can and -- equally important -- cannot do. Most of the video explores the social implications of this new technology, and through a series of paired interviews with scientist Richard Burgess and activist Jeremy Rifkin, manages to do a predominately even-handed job of presenting both sides of the potential issues. ... While its cost wouldn't warrant going out to purchase a personal copy, the film's fairness and incredibly astute and well-worded questions for viewers to ponder make it a good candidate for a school's general library collection."

--David L. Brock, Roland Park Country School, Baltimore, MD. in AAAS Science Books and Films.

Spaceship Earth

"These excellent videos can be used singly or in a series. The gentle narration combines with top-notch photography for a clear, uncluttered presentation of many aspects of life in its various earthly forms. Definitions of such complicated concepts as cellular structure, ecosystems, and living versus nonliving are given in terms that junior and senior high students can grasp. The periodic chart of the elements, atomic structure, human interference with natural processes and human interaction with natural processes are well done. Sociological ecologists such as Rachel Carson and Buckminster Fuller are quoted. The whole series stresses the finiteness of our living planet and its fragility."

--Ruth Amundson, Oconomowoc, WI in AAAS Science Books and Films.

"Congratulations on the first Hawkhill program I used 18 years ago -- SPACESHIP EARTH -- a treasure!!!"

--Michael Beardi, Aurora Middle School, Science Teacher, Lancaster, NY.

Women in Science

"Viewers learn how young women of talent and energy today are moving in large numbers into all scientific disciplines. Strengths: The video illustrates how many women who have contributed to science have been overlooked. Overall evaluation: A very good presentation to encourage young women to pursue careers in the sciences. Balanced and fascinating."

--An award winning video in Media and Methods.

"Teachers of middle school or junior high can use these tapes to encourage girls to think about science as a career... Part 1 focuses on the bleak years in the past when social conditions prevented women from entering science careers ... Part 2 opens with five contemporary women scientists talking about what it takes to do their job and why science interested them. Several imply that learning to think is important, and you can do anything you want to. I think that hearing from a practicing scientist may help some young students get a better self-image in relation to their future science classes."

--Paul. J. Hummer in The Science Teacher.

Toxic Wastes

"Part of Hawkhill Associates' series Time, Space and Spirit -- Keys to Scientific Literacy, the two-part video program TOXIC WASTES is for students in secondary grades and above. Part 1 relates the history of toxic waste problems through the ages and tells how some of these environmental waste problems were solved. Part 2 provides a scientific base for assessing and coping with toxic waste problems today. The video aims to bring historical perspective and scientific caution to this emotionally charged issue."

--Curriculum Product Review

"Today toxic waste is thought of primarily as chemical poison, however the term also refers to poisons created by living bacteria and viruses that `maim and kill under the names cholera, diptheria, anthrax' etc. Though these toxic wastes and their causes and effects are now fairly well understood, a brief overview in Part One of the havoc and misery created by them provides a key to understanding contemporary problems. This graphic, disease-ridden history not only dispels the myth of the good old days but also illustrates humankind's progress.

"The problems of today, presented in Part Two are certainly no less serious but are different than those previously confronted. What are the short- and long-range effects of the waste dump sites? How can the amount of toxic waste generated be reduced? Can ways of using this toxic waste to benefit people and the biosphere reasonably be developed? ...

"The subject, by its very nature, is often grisly and frightening. This video does, however, achieve a hopeful tone conveying an underlying theme that, if indeed we are aware and diligently work together, there are tenable solutions. This video should be valuable for use not only in conjunction with the study of science, but in classes dealing with social studies."

--Maria B. Salvadore, Coordinator Children's Service at the DIstrict of Columbia in Media and Methods.

Nuclear Power

"This video first sketches the history of nuclear power, interspersing photographs of Curie, Fermi, the University of Chicago pile, the new town of Oak Ridge, and so on with graphics that illustrate fission reactions. It then explains the difference between fission and fusion and presents some of the major controversial issues concerning the peaceful and military uses of nuclear power. The producers attempt to give the history a certain human touch-- for example, they show Niels Bohr trying to help Jews who were fleeing the Nazis and then almost dying from lack of oxygen during his own flight to safety in the gun turret of an Allied bomber. ... The program is eminently fair in summarizing the opposing arguments of the nuclear power debate. As with all such presentations, however, the discerning viewer is left wondering which side is telling the truth."

--Thomas Tanner, Iowa State University, Ames, IA in AAAS Science Books and Films.

Welcome to the Universe

"Weaving together a series of appealing scenes, graphic animations, and illustrative visual effects, this series presents a stimulating view of the universe, the earth, living things, atomic structure, and finally, an excursion into related areas of history, literature, poetry and philosophy. Presiding over this visual tapestry is a narrator who, through simple, straightforward language and a relaxed but sincere manner, provides credible guidance through this broad range of scenes and subjects. Starting with an impressive view of the vast expanse of the universe, the program then concentrates on the earth as a small but self-contained `spaceship.' After a general survey of the nature of life and the differences between living and nonliving things, how human life begins, and how the components of the cell determine human characteristics. Finally, the minute nature of atoms and molecules is considered. Perhaps the unique characteristic of this series is the way in which, in the final part, the scientific background is skillfully blended into a context of human history, literature, and religious and philosophical thought. The production qualities are outstanding, with a richness of information and visual images. That richness, however, requires careful planning to determine the most appropriate role for this resource in an instructional program."

--Paul W. Welliver, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA in AAAS Science Books and Films.


"After an account of the Scopes trial, the 20th century's famous confrontation between scientific theory and the political system, the first part of this video develops the historical perspective for Charles Darwin's treatise on the Origin of Species, the conclusions of the Greek philosopher Anaximander in 550 B.C., serving as the principal basis for evolutionary discourse, Carl Linnaeus's Systema Naturae in 1735, George Buffon's 44-volume encyclopedic work on Natural History, and two key concepts theorized by Lamarck. Concluding is a history of Darwin's work and its conflict with the principle of Creationism. Part 2 elaborates on Darwin's theory, summarizing it in five simple statements and presenting some of the evidence used to support them. The production closes with an examination of new theories and interpretations of the historical record. EVOLUTION could be be used effectively with upper level high school and college students and adults. Its approach is interdisciplinary, and effectively relates scientific principles to social science themes. ... A must purchase."

--Arthur Friedman, Nassau Community College, Garden City, NY. in Library Journal.

Chemical Cycles in the Biosphere

"I would like to thank you for sending an updated version of CHEMICAL CYCLES IN THE BIOSPHERE. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it twice! .. The content was relevant and the film footage was gorgeous! Thank you. The service I have received from Hawkhill has been superb."

--Annette L. Vachula, American International College, Springfield, MA.

Chemists at Work, Biologists at Work, Physicists at Work, Earth Scientists at Work

"Outstanding content, well presented, very well pleased with content and technical quality."

--Marita Sesler, Hall High School, Knoxville, TN.

The Great Lakes

"An especially appropriate acquisition for public and school libraries in the Great Lakes area, and will enlighten audiences in other locations as well."


"Very effective as a group, giving a multi-disciplinary, integrated approach to and appreciation of the geology, the history and the ecology of the largest chain of fresh water lakes in the world."

--AAAS Science Books and Films


"The national council recommends that all students develop ... familiarity with some of the episodes in the history of science and technology that are of surpassing significance for our cultural heritage ... Galileo ... Newton ... Darwin ... Lyell ... Pasteur."

--AAAS Project 2061.

"Basic scientific literacy is taught in a context of science, technology and society."

--Winner of the Excellence in Educational Media Award, Media and Methods Magazine.

"I compliment you on the fine materials we have been receiving from you. They fit right in with our classes and have been a great help."

--Kathy Peavy, Lassen College, Susanville, CA.

"I was quite impressed with the concept you have. The videos and the Learning Power Books are on target for the high school students I teach."

--Joel Blasingame, Miami Schools, Miami, TX.

"The science teachers in the group were very enthusiastic about the video materials."

--Melvin Kranzberg, Professor of History of Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.

"Excellent productions and quality."

--M. C. Ryeznihiewicy, Taconic High School, Pittsfield, MA.

"We really appreciate the emphasis in your presentations on the balance between wonder and power. Well done!"

--Joe Richter, Science Chair, Valley Lutheran High School, Phoenix, AZ

"Great tapes."

--Valeree Wreczorek, St. David School, Davie, FL.

"These excellent films are perfect as either an introduction or summary to a unit of study."

--Nancy Walley, Bishop Kearny High School, Brooklyn, NY.

"Excellent tape for teaching and reinforcing. I'm glad it includes history."

--Becky L. Crain, Annunciation School, Bogalusa, LA.

"Thank you. They are terrific!"

--Paula Keplinger, Ellsworth Middle School, Middlebourne, WV.

"Excellent programs!."

--Secondary Schools, Redding, California.

"I keep wondering why all the science curricula aren't based on your videos!"

--David Curl, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.