The product of three years' development, 3-2-1 Contact (B. 1980 D. 1988) stands as the third-longest-running series ever produced by the Children's Television Workshop (as it was then called). Its premise was to bring the world of science, and all its excitement, to middle-school students, particularly girls and minorities. Through seven seasons, various hosts traveled around the world to find science in everything. Over the years, features such as clever animation, biographies, and the detective series The Bloodhound Gang were included. Complementing the series for middle-school students and teachers alike was 3-2-1 Contact magazine, edited by Jonathan Rosenbloom. In the first season of 3-2-1 Contact, three hosts Lisa, Marc, and Trini met at a regular set, called the "workshop," to discuss their scientific adventures. It looked every bit the science equivalent of The Electric Company, with loads of animation and regular celebrity segments.
David and Kaori visit the Mikimoto Pearl Farm and see the 100-year process of culturing pearls. David and Kanae Nishio go wading in a forest stream, hunting for a giant salamander.
Impeding Japanese throughout is the erosion of Mt Fuji. David sees what steps are being guarded to help the Japanese society in spite of it. Included is a building where rainstorms and landslides are simulated.
David and Kaori visit the Furutas, whose family has been making paper by hand for two centuries. They follow the Furutas as they make a batch of fine paper. David, Kaori, and Chizuru Ishizaka join a kite expert and test a kite designed to fly in little wind.
David and Kaori get a glimpse of architects designing buildings that can resist the force of some natural disasters.
How would you like to write your messages in a strictly-ordered way, knowing that one mistake could change the meaning of your sentence? It can happen in English, but it's easier to write Japanese wrong. David and Kaori visit a software researcher and test out software that is designed to read and identify handwritten Kanji characters. (David puts his skills to the test and fails.) David and Kaori also participate in a grueling judo workout, after which they learn about a computer that helps train judo students. Finally, Kaori shows David the next closest thing Japanese language has to the English alphabet.
Archaeologists are seen trying to demystify the Mayans, Egyptian mummies, and a prehistoric cave where flint was mined.
There are "archaeologists" in Arizona that are analyzing modern humans from samples of their trash! It's a far cry from the tools of ancient man, or so you would think.
This show observes owls in the wild and the ecosystems in a salt marsh.
In the centerpiece of this episode, a museum moves a large dinosaur exhibit into place.
Can you tell a pattern when you see it? A combination of new and recycled material shows all sorts of patterns in nature.
Basic architecture can be whittled down to beams and a sheet. This is seen through circus tents, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and other things.
The frame is vitally important to anything architectural. We see how animals make their perfectly-designed shelters, how the Japanese can join two boards without glue or nails, and find the traditional Kenya home.
How do you build the world's largest Gothic cathedral? It all comes down to using marble cut in certain ways. The arch and the buttress are featured in the ongoing construction of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.
There is a branch of architectural science called ergonomics, which states how things are built to fit certain people. David Quinn sees if he can improve the ergonomics of a kitchen.
The shape and composition of architectural materials can prove vital for various reasons. The I-beam and the triangle brace are highlighted in this episode.
Hard to believe mice and rats are mammals, as are bats. But this program shows why rodents are classified this way.
Fur and hair are mammals' chief arsenal to stay warm. But what about sea otters?
This show witnesses the births of elephant seals and wildebeests. Also seen are young black bears and kangaroos.
Play is an important part of growing, as we see from watching babboons, chimpanzees, sheep dogs and even kids playing.
There is a price ecosystems pay when big animals are confined. This program shows the elephant, the rhinoceros and the tapir groping with spatial problems.
Models are used to test ideas before they become large-scale. A class of intermediate-school students go through modeling tactics in building a spring-driven car. We also see newsreel clips of models that produced both commonplace items and inventions that didn't pan out.
Models observed in this episode include those of Canadian ice shields, fast bicycles, and modern airplanes.
Surveyors are seen at work, as are schoolkids who devise a map of their own neighborhood.
Models are shown in museums and in the medical world.
Much of this program focuses on a zoo's constructing an uncannily accurate rain forest for its animals.
Built largely on material recycled from Season 1, this episode includes insight on how pigeons and bats negotiate their world. Bats rely on sonar, but as for pigeons and how they navigate, that's a different story.
Main Concept: Variances in wind currents can be used to create different forms of transportation such as soaring, gliding and hot air balloons. Even inanimate objects like a kite depend on the wind to function properly.
Wind power is introduced with Flying Scooters at an amusement park. Hopey learns about the sport of "soaring" by taking a trip in a glider sail plane.
Repeat of a sequence from the episode Hot/Cold: Temperatures on Earth/In Space: In the mountains of Colorado, Lisa participates in a balloon race to better understand why a hot-air balloon rises.
David visits a local Kite Club in Tokyo where he meets a Japanese "kite doctor," who uses science to improve a kite's performance.
Jan Carter, Entymologist at the Cincinatti Zoo and Botanical Garden teaches us about the life cycles of the butterfly. David speaks with Glen Wiggins, curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto Canada, about Dragonflies and their wings and Moths and their Proboscis. Then there's a recycled segment from season 1, Episode 22, where Marc visits a beekeeper. Then back to David and Glen Wiggins about Beetles.
Hopey finds a hibernating ground for ladybugs. David observes beetles at the Royal Ontario Museum. Todd gets fooled by Barbara Reinalda and her softball pitches.
REHASHED FROM SEASON 1 (Show 8): Trini takes rides the Goodyear Blimp around New York City.
MUSIC VIDEO: Airborne.
David visits Aerovironment Inc. where they are building a full scale Pterodactyl model that has been designed based on the few clues scientists have about the real animal. Then David visits Burt Rutan, designer of the Voyager, the first plane to travel around the world without stopping. There David and Burt discuss the custom airplane designs and experimants Burt has made.