Life Science

"Life" in Movies: Happy Feet 2: Evolution/Adaptation

Thursday evening, my family and I sat down to watch "Happy Feet 2". At this point I was already prepared for my lessons for the following day (Friday). After about 1/2 hour of watching the movie, I couldn't help but change my plans. I was headed into teaching the Cycles of Matter and Energy focusing on the Water, Nitrogen and Carbon Cycles but Happy Feet 2 was too "perfect" to pass up. We had just ended the 3rd quarter with adaptation, speciation, variation, (evolution). Happy Feet was such a great way to help the students to make visual connections with what they had just learned and what can/could go on in the real world. Appropriately, the movie opens with the narrator saying "no matter how big or small, we are all connected in ways you couldn't imagine...". What a great opening to our 4th quarter: Cycle of Matter and Energy (food chains/food webs), sustainability, conservation, interdependence of organisms on one another (parasitism, mutualism, commensalism), humans impact on the environment!!! Some may not find it as appropriate for their curriculum, however, to capture the attention and to create connections for 7th graders, it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time in MY curriculum. Check it out...

Rochelle Tamiya
Rochelle Tamiya
4085 Activity Points

Rochelle, let me be the first to reply to your enthusiastic post about Happy Feet 2. I am looking for a movie to show my class and I will definitely check it out. We are interconnected here on Earth and I guess it is our job as teachers to get the students to imagine and to realize all the ways that we are. Thanks for the idea, let us know how your lesson worked out.

Vincent Lowery
Vincent Lowery
2750 Activity Points

The opening line to the movie is a wonderful way to get the students thinking about the interconnectedness between themselves and the environment thousands of miles away. That was a nice segue way into your current standards. My dear friend just got back from Antarctica and visiting the penguins and wildlife there. Her adventures and pictures were just picturesque. She was able to see first-hand, just how interconnected humans and the wildlife there really are. The effects of humans were seen in Antarctica in many ways. A significant amount of ice shelves are disintegrating rapidly due to global warming. The not so obvious, relates to the ozone hole. It is the largest hole on record. Thanks for sharing the movie with your students and with us. We are all interconnected no matter where we live on this Earth.

Jill Tung-Loong
Jill Tung-Loong
300 Activity Points

Hi Rochelle, Thanks for the recommendation, Happy Feet Two made many references to adaptation and evolution. I agree that it is a great movie to show the students at the end of the unit. The movie contained many vocabulary terms that was covered throughout the unit and the students were able to make the connection between the movie and their classwork. I think that it also provides a great way of addressing one of the common misconceptions students have with evolution and that is the amount of time it takes for an organism to evolve. In the movie the krill, Bill and Will try to instantly evolve from a herbivore to a carnivore (unsuccessfully). I thought it was important to discuss this area of concern with my class.

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

While on the topic of Evolution, another movie that addresses this topic is the movie titled "Evolution." The movie is rated PG-13 and would require paperwork to be completed to view. Also it's probably not a movie to show to lower grade levels, however the movie directly references evolution and adaptations. In the movie the "alien" organism comes to earth on a meteor and evolves from a prokaryotic organism all the way through primates. The organisms evolve at a extremely quick pace which is important to note.

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

Thank you to Rochelle for the great suggestion of having the students watch the introduction of the movie "Happy Feet 2" when teaching the concept of systems and interdependence. I would have never thought about using this clip with my fourth grade students. I think this is a great introduction to the concept of food chains/food webs and the clip is age appropriate for my students. Thanks for the great movie clip idea!

Sandra Dolbin
Sandra Dolbin
4985 Activity Points

Thanks for a great post - now I am going to go out and get the movie so I can view it and see if I can fit it in my next life science unit. I love the quote: "no matter how big or small, we are all connected in ways you couldn't imagine...". I teach with a theme of interdependence throughout the year and would love to incorporate this quote into my classroom along with the other ideas obout cycles of matter and energy for my 6th graders. Each year for the past few years, I have been developing lessons about Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems to use with my students. I am very curious to see how I can incorporate clips form this movie into my lessons later this month. Thanks for your post!

Nichole Montague
Nichole Montague
4675 Activity Points

Thanks for a great post - now I am going to go out and get the movie so I can view it and see if I can fit it in my next life science unit. I love the quote: "no matter how big or small, we are all connected in ways you couldn't imagine...". I teach with a theme of interdependence throughout the year and would love to incorporate this quote into my classroom along with the other ideas obout cycles of matter and energy for my 6th graders. Each year for the past few years, I have been developing lessons about Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems to use with my students. I am very curious to see how I can incorporate clips form this movie into my lessons later this month. Thanks for your post!

Nichole Montague
Nichole Montague
4675 Activity Points

I want to also thank Rochelle for her suggestion of Happy Feet2. I have never seen the movie and after viewing Blick on Flicks I was going to use the movie Avatar for my life cycles unit, but I couldn't quite make it work with the lesson I wanted to present. I think Happy Feet 2 sounds like it might match my curriculum better. This will be my second lesson for the Life in Movies course. I did my first lesson on a chemistry benchmark with mixing subtances and chemical reactions.When preparing my lesson I struggled with creating the reflection questions. After having taken several NSTA courses I am used to the format for the reflection questions. Does anyone have suggestions for reflection questions? How are you incorporating the movie clips into the reflection? Are you using them as anticipatory parts or a content material?

Katherine Tierney
Katherine Tierney
1780 Activity Points

Thanks for the great post. I'll be renting Happy Feet 2 to check it out this three day weekend. Any other ideas?

Garrett Arakawa
Garrett Arakawa
600 Activity Points

Hi Katherine, There is a great journal article titled: "Timing Is Everything" in NSTA's resource center. I highly recommend it. Debra Drury explores when is the best time to introduce film and other visual media to students. It is a quick but very interesting article. Try searching in the Learning for the title or try the link below: http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/sc06_043_08_33 Nikki

Nichole Montague
Nichole Montague
4675 Activity Points

Thanks Rochelle for the suggestion. After our science fair projects this quarter for the 9th graders we're going to do natural selection too as preparation for the HSA test next year. It's a well known fact that at least in my classes they prefer to watch videos and movies rather than listen to me talk and talk and talk...so this sounds like a great suggestion. May I ask if you happened to make a worksheet that students answered as they watched the video? Or did they just watch it and that's it? Was there a follow up or something to go along with the movie to check for understanding or debrief? If so could you share it? Thank you.

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura
4055 Activity Points

Thank you so much for the recommendation. I am just finishing up evolution with my 10th grade students and they will get a kick out of watching "Happy Feet". My students watched GATTACA when we finished genetics and loved it because they were able to understand the movie! But, be careful- there is one word and a scene that are not appropriate for all ages.

Lynn Yamada
Lynn Yamada
3020 Activity Points

Great idea! I haven't seen the movie yet, but plan on renting it. I would never have thought, but it seems like it was very useful for many of you. I recently taught a lesson on science and technology. We watched a video on National Geographic about how scientists track animals with critter cams and GPS systems. One of my students brought up the movie, Happy Feet, because the penguin was sent back to Antarctica with a tracking device.

Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino
Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino
1405 Activity Points

"Happy Feet!" I'm looking for some movie ideas to demonstrate either the state of matter (solid, liquid and gas) or physical and chemical changes. I am thinking of some green blob movie made for children, but I can't recall the name. Any ideas?

Erin Mendelson
Erin Mendelson
2680 Activity Points

Erin- You may be thinking of the movie "Flubber."

Lisa Doggett
Lisa Kamin
1235 Activity Points

Erin- You may be thinking of the movie "Flubber."

Lisa Doggett
Lisa Kamin
1235 Activity Points

Has anyone used the Lorax to teach ecology or environmental science concepts? I am not sure how I missed it, but my co-teacher recently shared it with me, and it is a great fit for environmental science. And while the adaptation is not as evident, WALL-E also features evolution/adaptation as the people on the ship lose the use of their limbs due to reduced gravity etc... It also shows how long the Earth could take to recover from the over run of pollution. Thoughts?

Susanne Hokkanen
Susanne Hokkanen
79060 Activity Points

Thanks. We are ending genetic variation and evolution before Christmas. It'll be a great idea to watch Happy Feet 2 right before or after the break. Although I could only show 15 minutes of it because we're not allowed to show more than that in our school.

Mary Ann NG
Mary Ann Ng
3360 Activity Points

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