Planktonium – A Journey to a Microscopic World

Children are driven by curiosity! What can be more exciting than discovering the microscopic world?

A microscope is a super tool for encouraging children to love biology and also to develop their observational skills. Despite a fascination for tiny organisms, I must admit I was not quite prepared for the voyage that filmmaker Jan van IJken takes you to in his short film Planktonium. A journey to a secret universe that is right here on our planet, yet, it is a world filled with alien-like creatures.

The beautiful organisms are invisible to the naked eye but they can be found beneath the surface of waters around us. They might be tiny but the organisms play a vital role in all life on Earth. The small plant-like cells, phytoplankton, produce half of all the oxygen on earth, while the zooplankton forms the base for the food chain in the sea.

Plankton plays a vital role in the global carbon cycle. Sadly they are threatened by global changes as well as the acidification of the oceans.

Visually this is a spectacular film, brilliant coloured blob and strange-looking monsters with gigantic eyes. But that is not all, the sound adds another layer. Norwegian artist Jana Winderen recorded sounds deep underwater and this makes this strange world really come to life.

I love how the film is shot like a journey into space – there are images moving against a black background. This highlights the beauty and also that just like a journey into space, most of this world we do not understand. A great challenge for young children to embrace!

A fun way to start exploring plankton is to make some drawings! This film is a lovely starting point. Enjoy!

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