This article and accompanying video (the film is worth watching just to see a very neat "juggling fly") about early science films made when film technology had just been invented (via Boing Boing) reminded me of the Prelinger Archives, a collection of old instructional and classroom films in the public domain.
I love the films you can watch in this archive, especially films about social etiquette told from a 1950s perspective. So I headed over today to see if they have any interesting films about biology and science.
I found this film, entitled "Why Study Science?" made in 1955 (you can either download or stream the film from their site, its 11 minutes long). In it, a father tells his son and daughter (children of the "atomic age") how they might use science in their everyday lives, even Betty the future homemaker. While this film is obviously dated, the father does have one monologue that I think is especially relevant to today, with the upcoming elections. When his son asks why he should study science even if he isn't going to become an astronaut, the dad responds with:
"You're still a citizen with the power to vote. Living in a scientific age we need citizens who know enough about science to make intelligent decisions about what they do. We use science to prolong life, to increase security and happiness. But it can also be used for destruction. Are we going to use it constructively to promote peace and give the world freedom from want? It will be up to you, and you too."