Students that study STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) might be especially interested in educational movies. They work with various complicated concepts daily and know them from within. Watching how popular media represents such concepts on the screen might be beneficial in many ways. First, movies display complicated tech things in a pretty straightforward manner, which can help one fill some gaps in understanding. No matter how deeply you dive, sometimes you might cry: “Eureka!” when the concept you thought you understand is described to you plainly. Second, these concepts might be misused or oversimplified in films, which can spark discussion and critical thinking in class.
In the following post, we will discuss seven amazing films for the techy class. Read on and prepare your popcorn!
The Fly (1986)
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While David Cronenberg’s movie called Fly is a perfect example of a horror science fiction that deals with various questions of human existence and has multiple layers, this film can be the right choice for a tech classroom. In addition to the philosophical essence of the story, students can also focus on the ethical moment – the genetic discoveries and advancement might go too far, and the consequences can be unpredictable. The film could become a conversation starter and a trigger for ideas about genetic engineering and manipulations.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
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One of the best STEM movies surely is A Beautiful Mind, which is a story of John Nash, a math-genius that experiences complicated psychological states. The film is inspiring for techie students that feel absolutely motivated and involved in their field. While the social stereotype of a “crazy mathematician” is something spread in the air, the film depicts that mental illness is just a matter of perception. Objectivity and subjectivity are tested here elegantly and excitingly.
Apollo 13 (1995)
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This movie is one of the most powerful space-stories about the doomed astronauts and troubles they have to face. STEM Students might be interested to see the detailed spacecraft as well as some “do-it-yourself” solutions of the space-team members in trouble. Students may discuss such topics as a rocket launch, the change of technology (Apollo 13 was made in 1995, and things have changed a lot since then), highly-technical problems, and engineers’ role in decision-making.
The Imitation Game (2014)
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In this film, mathematicians and cryptologists take part in a significant historical event. It takes place during World War II when the British government tries to break the German code called Enigma. Connecting past events and STEM skills might be a complicated task for someone like writers from the best university assignment writing services in Australia, but this is also an excellent exercise for techie-students. Indeed, The Imitation Game is a rare example of a Hollywood movie that uses math and cryptography in a smart and meaningful way. So students are welcome to watch this movie as an introduction to matrix logic and other complicated concepts that are successfully displayed on the screen.
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There is plenty of real science in sci-fi movies, and students might find it interesting to identify such traits. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is a thriller where characters are desperately looking for habitable planets. The story is worth STEM students’ time – there are misused as well as accurate scientific concepts depicted here. Youngsters may find it interesting to the debate around some facts, technological, and even psychological issues that hold humanity back from the interstellar journey. Also, it might be interesting to suggest some ways to separate the director’s fantasies from reality.
The Lego Movie (2014)
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Looking for some science movies for kids, one cannot ignore The Lego Movie. This one is a story that appeals to the creative nature of human beings because all of us are potential engineers of our universe! Students will surely find it interesting to identify the steps of engineering design at work when watching this 3D cartoon. Lego blocks are perfect for creating prototypes and designs, which makes the engineering process shown in The Lego Movie hilarious and entertaining. Students might want to bring some bricks to the classroom and create models being inspired by the cartoon. There are numerous creations depicted there, and future real-life engineers can learn the basics of model-building from these simple examples.
The Martian (2015)
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The Martian is a story about an astronaut stuck on Mars. He is trying to apply his knowledge of engineering, biology, technology, and other sciences to survive on the empty planet. While the story is fictional, it is based on numerous scientific facts. The STEM students may find it interesting to analyze the main character’s decisions, like water made of the rocket fuel and potato farm. Inspired by the movie, students can even try to check these ideas on practice and do some DIY projects.
Watching movies that somehow work with scientific concepts and ideas might be a perfect way to understand them better. It doesn’t matter if the idea is depicted accurately or not – the depiction itself can be a source of debate and analysis that boosts creative and critical thinking. STEM students of different grades may find it interesting to watch the presented movies in class, do some projects, and take part in active discussions. Whether they have something to criticize or share after watching a film – this might be a great topic for dialogue, report, or even an essay. Choose the one you like the most and get ready for a lively in-class debate!
Sandra Larson is a blogger and professional writer. Being found in movies and art, she believes that there is room for them in every classroom. While art education is not a stand-alone subject in most colleges, Sandra is assured that students can benefit from visual and other media a lot. In her articles, she explores ways to implement films, music, and various art practices in the learning process.