Life Science

"Life" in movies

The article "Life" in movies, by Michael L. Berumen was pretty decent read. It definitely helped with brainstorming ideas for differentiation within the classroom. The author provides great ideas for lesson topics on a variety of movies from animated children movies to darker themed movies like Outbreak. The article also address some issues that may arise when teaching the lesson and suggests when to show the movie as far as progress along the content goes. I think that the introduction of movies in class can be used as a great anticipatory lesson, students are definitely more engaged when dealing with visuals. The article also mentioned combining the movie with books if possible which I thought was a great idea to even further increase differentiation. One of the movies I have used before was King-Kong. I usually show a clip from the movie when the get to the island and see all the larger than normal versions of the creatures. This is than followed by a discussion of adaptations by comparing and contrasting the enivronment of the island and the rest of the world. What was needed on the island to help mold drastically larger organisms? Anybody else have experience with using movies within the classroom? Any ideas?

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

It seems Science fiction can be a great motivator for science education in film or print. Personally I have had problems separating out the science from the fiction. When I show movies I am careful to identify for the class the scientific bases for the movie and then as a class we use our imagination to interpret the fiction. So much good Sci-fi is attempting to teach a lesson in its story so I try to pull out the lesson in class discussions. I rarely show an entire movie because there simply is not enough time. And the concept can be achieved without. I am very interested in other ways Science fiction and other forms of popular media can be used in class. Let me know other ideas you have and how it has worked!

Eric Colchin
Eric Colchin
1220 Activity Points

I do not normally use too many movies in my class, I like the idea of clips more than taking 1-1/2 to 2 hours of class time, but a few movies have made the cut. One of my favorites is "The Race for the Double Helix". I just showed it this week. It is a movie depicting the researchers who were trying to identify the structure of DNA in 1952-1953. Jeff Goldblum plays James Watson. It shows the interactions, personalities and the work that was done by several scientists to put the structure together. I have a set of questions that the students fill in as they watch but the discussion afterward is the best part. Did Watson and Crick steal the info from Rosalind Franklin? Did they share enough with Maurice Wilkins? Was what they did ethical? Did they deserve the Nobel Prize? The kids really got into it.

Dawn McCoart
Dawn McCoart
6215 Activity Points

That sounds like an excellent one, Dawn. Can you share where you obtained your copy of the video and how much it costs? I have used the very beginning of Jurassic Park to introduce my unit on DNA and genetics.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86463 Activity Points

Hey Travis...I absolutely agree with movies adding to content and vice versa. I'm interested in the clip that Dawn mentioned and I want to say "ditto" to Carolyn. I also use Jurassic Park in my genetics and evolution unit making sure to point out the concepts, and terms that we have already gone over in class (I usually show my "movies" at the end of the quarter - used both as a wrap and a reward; parents sign an approval form prior), but also to show students that you can't believe EVERYTHING that is presented in movies which sometime add to misconceptions and overall to add to the "hype" of it all. "Osmosis Jones" is also a great film that I include in my cells unit, simply to give a brief scenario of what can/does often occur in the body with white blood cells, germs, etc..Again, movies can be quite a great anticipatory or culminating strategy to get students more interested in making the connections but it is how they are used. Misconceptions and false/mis-information MUST be addressed though. It also provides students the opportunity to check the "reliability" of resources as well. Overall, I believe movies allow for students to be exposed to concepts and information that sometimes no matter how much we reinforce in the classroom, they somehow don't get until they actually see it, in this case, in the movies. I most appreciate using media such as movies in my curriculum because it allows students a chance to see for example that Jurassic Park includes concepts in them that ARE learned in our classroom and that these movies are not just 100% made up and fantasy (not all any way).

Rochelle Tamiya
Rochelle Tamiya
4085 Activity Points

I had the school order it for our collection, we share it between the Bio teachers. I just found it here: http://cinemamoon.com/RaceForDoubleHelix.html they are asking $11 plus $3 shipping. amazon had it, too, but in a "vintage VHS" for $33-$45 OUCH... If this attachment works, I found a copy of the first paper Watson and Crick wrote to announce their DNA molecule structure.

Dawn McCoart
Dawn McCoart
6215 Activity Points

I normally use discoveryeducation.com to show movies that relate to the benchmarks that we're covering. Often times the students prefer to watch a video than listen to me talk. Discovery Ed also has accompanying handouts that students can fill out while they watch a video. Your school needs to have a license to access the site however - but it's a worthwhile investment.

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura
4055 Activity Points

A great science fiction movie to introduce, and get students to think about and debate, current genetics topics is "Gattaca". I show a few clips to explain how the futuristic society uses genetic engineering to create a class of superior people. My students then break into teams and we have a series of trials on whether we should clone people, use embryonic stem cells, or genetically engineer people. Students are always excited about the topic, and then can't wait until we watch the entire movie.

Katherine Willet
Katherine Zimmerman
21310 Activity Points

The article “Life” in Movies by Michael L. Berumen was a brief, but impactful article. This article gave me enthusiasm to start using movies in the classroom with some direct links on to how to get started and what movies to use. Before I thought using mainstream movies in the classroom was taboo, but after reading the article I can see how beneficial they can be if you make the correct movie selection and plan out a lesson. What stood out to me in the article was using the movies as a tool to learn about the methods scientists use versus science content being presented and learned directly from the movie. I also appreciated how the role of the student in his or her own learning was heavily addressed. Having students raise the questions and do the research is something I would like my students to be able to do. I remember watching the movie “Flubber” as a child and wondering if material like that could truly be made. I think my students have the same wonderings and some will just believe whatever they see, so knowing how to question and research would be a great aide. I am about to start a unit on fossils. Does anyone have any movie suggestions for that?

Katherine Tierney
Katherine Tierney
1780 Activity Points

The life in movies article was interesting because it made me think of movies that were scientifically 'sound' and ones that were a bit far fetched. The jurassic park example that the article mentioned summed it up pretty well. Another movie that sort of came to mind was "The Core" - a horrible movie in my opinion, but to each their own. That movie featured a firefighter sacrificing his life to help another while his legs were literally submerged in the molten core. To me this is non-realistic situation gives students the opportunity to identify ways that the media improperly shows how various scientific concepts are depicted, often incorrectly.

Loren Nomura
Loren Nomura
4055 Activity Points

I also showed "The Core" back when I taught 8th grade science and we discussed about whether or not it was possible. Got the kids thinking. Right now I am teaching 6th grade science (energy, motion & force, magnetism) and am stomped at what types of movies I can use to use to help them get excited about the topic. I also use discovery school videos but a lot of the ones I've found are educational and can be quite boring for this age group. Anyone have suggestions?

Jean Watanabe
Jean Watanabe
950 Activity Points

I have never really thought about using movies in the classroom, mostly because of time contraints. I have used them before, but only those educational clips for when I have a sub, or during the very end of the year as a reward day. The movies I show when I have a sub usually has a short question worksheet that the students have to answer as they are watching the video. After reading the "Life" in Movies article and watching the Blick on Flicks podcasts, I am rather excited to find some well-known movies to show in class. Having something the students have probably seen before, but using it to explain the topics we are covering in class will be beneficial for them. (I hope) The only difficulty I see will be to show the pertinent sections of the movie and not the entire thing because it's just too long.

Tina Alcain
Tina Alcain
3305 Activity Points

Once, when I was teaching earth science, I realized that almost every movie was an earth science movie. Dante's Inferno (the volcano), Armageddon (the asteroid), Titanic (the iceberg), Wizard of Oz (the tornado), Jurassic Park (the dinosaurs) (it should really be called Cretaceous Park because of the T-Rex) and on and on. I can see now that a similar claim could be made for life science movies. I will check out the Race for the Double Helix, it sounds interesting. I am also checking out Blick on Flicks in the podcast section of this site and he reviews a number of movies with a science perspective. For instance he talks about how Sherlock Holmes dealt with the beginnings of forensic science.

Vincent Lowery
Vincent Lowery
2750 Activity Points

The article “Life” in Movies by Michael L. Berumen was interesting in that it allowed me to revisit the idea of using movies in the classroom. I have shown clips of movies to introduce a topic or a specific idea but not too often. After reading this article I realize that I can implement a movie in the classroom almost the same way I use a book. In such ways as before, during and after questions, open ended questions, response activities and student led discussions. Similar to guided reading groups, students can learn to eventually become cooperative learners in using a movie as a learning tool instead of or in addition to a book. As the article recommends, using reading assignments with the film can enhance the learning. The article refers to many familiar movies that have a wealth of teaching opportunities! I appreciate the charts in the article that give the levels of learning. In my opinion, students enjoy movies and often times don’t even realize they are learning. I look forward to effectively incorporate movies in my lessons to allow my students to take their learning to a higher and deeper level!

Opt_out Opt_out
Tara Soleta
1560 Activity Points

The article "Life in Movies" by Micheal L. Berumen was quite validating for me more on a personal level. Sometimes I would show a movie in class and discuss with others about what I did with my class I sometimes left feeling a little guilty. I knew why I would show the movie and I always had a connection or realization that the students were to gain from watching the movie but I think some people, especially those who dont teach, hear that the teacher is showing a movie and automatically think that the teacher is not actually teaching. I have always belived that movies make things so much more interesting. Movies definitely grab the attention of the students who cant sit still in class, or the ones who are just not focused on particular lessons or the students who sit there staring into space whenever the teacher is talking. Those are the students who are usually mesmorized by the movie and those are the students who will be able to give details about what they saw, what they learned and what they figured out. More students are able to generate questions with out the teacher pulling teeth to give promts in order for the students to be motivated enough to think of their own questions on why or how things happen. Teaching younger students makes it a little easier to pull movies with a life science tie in, but does anyone have any suggestions for movies that could tie into electricity or physical science? I have done Bill Nye, Brain Pop and Magic School Bus but if I could find an actual real, storyline kind of movie that ties in electricity that would be so cool! Aloha, Lia

Liamarie Thomas
Liamarie Thomas
2360 Activity Points

Everyone has great ideas and insights about to use or not use movies. When I taught sixth grade we did a science unit on food and nutrition and at the end of the unit I had students watch and reflect on the movie "Super Size Me." The students enjoyed it and understood the concept of eating healthy vs not eating healthy. For the younger grades I would use more animated movies like Happy Feet, Wall-E, Rio, Lion King or Bambi. These movies most students have seen before and will relate and connect with the movies on a deeper level.

Helen Hicks
Helen Hicks
2635 Activity Points

Hi - I am glad I am not the only one that is having a hard time trying to find a movie that relates to what I am doing now. I have been working on Density, atmosphere, air pressure etc. and heading into weather. I know there are lots of movies about storms, so should find something then. I know Helen Hunt did one about chasing Tornadoes. It's helpful to read everyone's comments - thank you for your suggestions. I am sorry I don't have any movie ideas, but if I come across any in my search, I will definitely post. My understanding is to use the regular movies - not Disc. Ed etc. I have listened to most of the podcasts - many having to do with physics. Interesting to hear the science comments. cheri

Cheri Alonzo
Cheri Alonzo
1995 Activity Points

Hi Cheri! If your school has a license for the DiscoveryEd website, they have a lot of cool clips (or videos in it's entirety) on weather (the Magic SchoolBus). Notice how I didn't start with "what grade do you teach?" since the I used the Magic School Bus clip in my 7th grade class because they were already familiar with it as well as they could also understand the explanation of the concepts. I never really like reading the Magic School Bus books as there were too many words on a single page and strewn all over like a comic book, however, the clips offered on DiscoveryEd makes difficult concepts, especially physics ones, so easy to understand. I had originally used a clip to teach the concept of pulleys. Hope that helps.

Rochelle Tamiya
Rochelle Tamiya
4085 Activity Points

Hi all, I too read the article, "Life in Movies", and was drawn to the idea of incorporating popular movies (and not just science video clips) into the lesson. I am currently teaching about atoms and the periodic table. I use Brainpop and Discovery Education to learn about both topics, but does anyone have any ideas for popular movies that include these topics in them?? I've read through the Blick on Flicks articles/podcasts and didn't find any suggestions for these topics yet. Would love to find something good!

Nichole Montague
Nichole Montague
4675 Activity Points

Hi Rochelle - Thank you for your suggestions. My school district does have Disc. Ed, but I thought we had to use popular full length movies for the Science in Movie class. You're right though - Discovery Ed has awesome videos and I use them alot for my Science and Social Studies classes. Our school also blocks You Tube, but I use my iPad and phone to connect. I will try "Teacher Tube." thank you Tina for suggestion. I look forward to any "Hollywood Movies" that connect to Earth Science content. Thanks all.

Cheri Alonzo
Cheri Alonzo
1995 Activity Points

Has anyone else discovered that Discovery Ed has good videos, but also videos that are very grainy and hard to watch? I have tried to use some of them, but with very limited success. I am currently in the process of finding a movie (or part of a movie) that I could use for my Marine Science class. We will be studying bony fish and cartilaginous fishes soon, but I thought JAWS would be too obvious. Any ideas?

Tina Alcain
Tina Alcain
3305 Activity Points

Here's a pretty "wordy" article about the use of movies in a college level science class for non-science majors. The article approaches the use of movies as an out of class assignment to engage students at home and perhaps have them look at movies from a different perspective. Although I think the assignment would have to be adapted greatly I think the author has some great ideas about the use of movies which were not necessarily meant for teaching science. One example he included was Lion King which could be used to help reinforce biomes, hierarchy, and symbiotic competition.

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

Hellen, What A great idea to show "Super size me"!I'm sure the students loved it. I also think it might possibly be good to show movies the younger students are familiar with. It gives them a chance to focus on what they are looking for and not getting too lost in the movie. Good ideas! Thanks Sara

Sara Kinyon
Sara Kinyon
2100 Activity Points

Lia, I agree with you about the article. I also had the same feeling that sometimes people think showing movies is not teaching. I use brainpop to introduce almost every new topic we cover. The students get so excited and it helps to get the idea into their brain before starting. I also use Bill Nye and magic school bus. I'm trying to find more resources to use especially since I'm in a new grade level. It is hard to think of theater type movies that cover a concept. I was thinking about electricity movies and I thought you could possibly use a action movie that has wires/sparks. I'm not sure which kind but even just an action scence where you can see the elctrical stuff being involved. -Just an idea, not too sure what all you have to cover. Sara

Sara Kinyon
Sara Kinyon
2100 Activity Points

I was looking at the movie Contagion which looks like an updated version of outbreak. Looks like a good movie to take clips from. "contagion follows a rapid progress of a lethal airborne virus that kills within days. As the fast moving epidemic grows, the worldwide community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.

Gerry Clarin
Gerry Clarin
2125 Activity Points

As I am preparing my science lessons, I found the 5E model reading very helpful. I read the article “A Learning Cycle for All Students” by Emilio Duran, Lena Duran, Jodi Haney, and Amy Scheuermann. The article focused on the existing 5E model and a modification of the model. The authors were suggesting adding on a step called the Express phase that allows a “conscious” pause in the students’ learning. Although I did find the article a bit redundant, I did appreciate the focus on differentiated instruction, which is something I have been focusing on myself in my classroom. I can see how the extra time spent on student evaluation will help guide my lessons. In the last NSTA science course I took I did a lesson on gravity and I found that even after the mini lesson, many of my students retained the misconception that a heavy object will fall faster and I had to adjust my lesson to reteach the concept. I am planning my first lesson from the Blick on Flick podcast on magnetism. This is a lesson that my students are naturally curious about and therefore engaged from the start. I hope to use the 5E model to keep the students engaged. Does anyone have any other suggestions on movies to use? In the article it mentioned using formative assessment probes. I was unclear, is this a particular type of assessment with a specific format, or were they just suggesting to use more formative assessments throughout the lesson?

Katherine Tierney
Katherine Tierney
1780 Activity Points

we were just talking about Contagion at our biology dept meeting the other day...thinking we would try to implement it into our curriculum in the future. I haven't seen it, but it seems like a good movie at showing virus outbreaks and how we are completely unprepared for an outbreak of that nature.

Chris Leverington
Chris Leverington
4015 Activity Points

Hi Helen, I’m sure your 6th graders were able to make some connections watching the Super Size Me movie! In teaching healthy eating with my 4th graders I found a recommendation for a DVD titled If You Don’t Take Care of Your Body, Where Else Are You Going to Live? By Trevor Romain. The theme is the benefits of exercise and healthy eating. It also has a 30 fitness challenge that I thought my students would like to participate in. It may even give them the chance to introduce the concepts to family members at home. I’ve taught this benchmark before using pictures and readings both fiction and nonfiction, but I’ve never had my students view a video. After being introduced to this course I realize the positive impact this teaching tool can have on students if implemented the right way. In using the 5 E model, I believe my students will learn and understand the concept of being healthy. This model will allow all students to grasp the knowledge being taught without feeling lost or bored. I’m excited to use a movie to engage my students through this learning process.

Opt_out Opt_out
Tara Soleta
1560 Activity Points

Hi, I liked Katherine Zimmerman's teaching method involving the movie gattica. It sounded like the students were really engaged and I am sure that it was meaningful when they did watch the entire movie. I know its important to teach students about it, but movies like contagion and outbreak really kind of freak me out. I might be reluctant to show them to my students. What if I had to watch them five times? But, I really like the idea of showing the course content relative parts of a movie, discussing them, and then having the students watch the whole movie. I also know the time factor is tough, but we do have 90-minute block scheduling every couple of weeks and I am sometimes able to show a film in one setting.

Vincent Lowery
Vincent Lowery
2750 Activity Points

Hi Sara, Helen and Tara, Thank you to all of you for great suggestions!!! @ Sara- the Magic School Bus, Bill Nye and Brain Pop sure are wonderful intros to new topics! I will try to find a movie that ties in sparks or wires. @ Helen, your suggestion for Wall-E might just fit into electricity! Thanks!! @Tara- I liked the movie you found "If You Don’t Take Care of Your Body, Where Else Are You Going to Live? By Trevor Romain." I want to view it to make sure it is age approroiate for my students, but I like that the kids will have a real story to make connections with. Good job with finding the "Realia" in science! I am actually excited to look for and find movies for the kids to see and make connections with for science! Thanks guys for all of the awesome suggestions! Aloha, Lia

Liamarie Thomas
Liamarie Thomas
2360 Activity Points

I agree that movies in the classroom are wonderful tools. It captures the students' attention. Before I put the movie on, I make sure I let the students know the purpose of watching the movie and to pay particular attention to specific parts. I may pause the movie at that part and we have a brief discussion. With third graders, movies are a great way to make connections. For science concepts, I've used Ice Age, The Bee Movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, as well as the Magic School Bus series. Before I show the movie, I preview the movie for questionable information, inaccuracy or misleading information. The movies are usually shown after we learn about the science concept. Discussions after the movie become a formative assessment of students' understanding of the science concept learned. When discussing the movie, we talk about what in the movie was "real" and what was "not real" (fact vs. fiction). The lesson is then carried over into Language Arts where students compare and contrast what happened in the movie to an investigation that was done or article that was read. Movies in the classroom? I'm all for it!!!

Mary Jane Burigsay-Tuvera
Mary Jane Burigsay-Tuvera
180 Activity Points

Hi Everyone! It was fascinating to read through this thread and to learn about all of the various resources that are available to teachers in regard to using movies to help support the learning of specific science benchmarks in the classroom. I entered the teaching field at a time when watching movies in the classroom were considered "taboo". My administrators would always open up the school year in the same manner; they would give a quick three minute speech about not showing any movies or videos that weren't DOE approved for fear of copyright infringement law suits. For me to read through the all of the posts on this thread advocating for the use of movies in the classroom, I now have to re-think my understanding of the use of movies in the classroom. I think that the fear is that teachers are not effectively and ethically using movies for student learning; that teachers are using the movies as a form of a babysitter for the students. After reading though the posts, I can definitely see how teachers are using the movies to help enhance the learning taking place in their classrooms. I also noticed that most of the teachers in this thread do alot of front loading for the students prior to showing the film and follow up after the film is done with activities, projects, and discussions. I am so encouraged by what I've read in this thread and I'm going to take some of the suggested movies and incorporate them into my science curriculum.

Sandra Dolbin
Sandra Dolbin
4985 Activity Points

Hi Sandra - I think you are right in the thinking that movies were a form of "babysitting." I know of instances - especially for a sub. I work with students with sped services and they usually aren't able to watch an entire movie. Which is why I love the short clips that are offered on many sites - just focusing on certain aspects of the content. I recently used Apollo 13 for our "Space Exploration" lesson. The very beginning had some actual footage, then we skipped the "Hollywood Part" and watched just the lift off. The deal is that when all work is done tomorrow (last day of classes before the break) they can watch a little more of the movie - they watched enough to know that the beeping of the dials signaled trouble- which is where I stopped. I used the movie to introduce our lesson on space exploration. The movie began a lively conversation/sharing of what the kids knew about space exploration. Glad you see the value in movies now - with preparation!

Cheri Alonzo
Cheri Alonzo
1995 Activity Points

Hi Cheri! Yes, it's so true - there is definite merit in the use of movies to help support the curriculum and the learning taking place in the classroom. You're absolutely correct when you state that there needs to be scaffolding and guidance before leading into clip or movie and then follow up and discussion after the clip or movie is shown. I am excited to start combing through movies and finding clips that can help enhance my science curriculum. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

Sandra Dolbin
Sandra Dolbin
4985 Activity Points

After watching the movie, Dolphin Tale inspired by the amazing true story of Winter the dolphin relearning how to swim without a tail after it was amputated. I thought this would be a great movie to show my students because our bodies are similar animals.
I didn't want to show the whole movie because I think the message would get lost. I prepared the movie clips ahead of time which made it a lot easier because once the clip was done the movie would stop and the screen would turn black. The students were so engaged and I had them take notes while watching the clips because this may have been a movie in theaters but were watching to learn more about ourselves and animals.
First movie clip (min 9:16-27:56) is the beginning of the movie when the boy first finds Winter on the beach and her tail has to be amputated. I also did a lab from the Foss Kit, human body. Students had to tape down their thumbs and do normal tasks without their thumbs, tie shoe laces, hold a pencil and write their name, color a drawing, do a maze and others.

It really made the students see how much they need their thumbs just as a dolphin needs their tail. There are real people like a little girl in the movie who did not have one leg.
2nd movie clip (min 51:29-54:43), 3rd movie clip (hour 1:09-1:11), 4th movie clip (hour 1:27-1:29)
At the end of my human body unit I'm going to show the whole movie as a reward to the students for learning all about the human body.
Thanks, Helen

Helen Hicks
Helen Hicks
2635 Activity Points

It is always a valid to point out that the use of movies in the classroom comes with a bunch of red tape to legally show movies in the classroom (especially in a DOE school.) It is important to remind the students of the GLO's and as a teacher model the effective and ethical use of technology in the classroom. I find that many times students assume that technology in the classroom is limited to things like microscopes or other scientific tools. However they might fail to identify commonly used objects such as televisions as technology. Reminding students that we are using the television as a learning tool provides a great opportunity to reinforce the GLO's.

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

Thanks for sharing, Helen!

That was an ideal way to incorporate movies into the classroom. I used to use the scene from Shrek where he's arguing with Donkey about ogres having layers (like an onion) to introduce the layers of the earth...it was so familiar to students they allowed themselves to be sucked right into the lesson every time.

Just for fun, here's the link to the latest Blick on Flicks! :)

Thanks again!
Kendra

Kendra Young
Kendra Young
17180 Activity Points

Hello, I think incorpporating movies into a lesson is a great way to increase student involvement. Many students will apply what they learned in class to the movie, and the next time they see it ooutside the classroom, they will think about what they learned in class. In one of my psychology classes in high school, we watched the movie "Say Anything". Our teacher was able to incorporate this famous movie in his lesson. Now, when i see the movie or see it on my shelf, I think back to what i learned in that class. I also thought applying the movies to a book is a great way to incorporate language arts or reading into a lesson, making it a great way for students to apply what they learned. -Allison Ziolkowski

Allison Ziolkowski
Allison Ziolkowski
625 Activity Points

Helen, Thanks for posting the times of the clips you used i'll be sure to check it out. I think your right it is important to be selective on what you are showing. Although the students might be disappointed it is a valid point that the meaning could be lost and it would be hard to ensure that they keep in mind what they are supposed to be focusing on throughout the movie. It is unlikely that the whole movie can be used to draw connections with your content.

Travis Toriano
Travis Toriano
990 Activity Points

Thank you everyone for sharing all the movies you've incorporated into your classes. I have used GATTACA for a few years after we finish the genetics unit. I'm interested in the movie someone mentioned before about the DNA and Watson and Crick- I'll have to look into it! I too use Teacher Tube for short video clips. I've shown some good ones on Bill Nye- specifically blood and the circulatory system. My AP students have had to follow along and take notes and really enjoyed it. Another place is Discovery education if your school/district has a free account. There are lots of short clips there- some even come with a pdf transcript file or premade questions.

Lynn Yamada
Lynn Yamada
3020 Activity Points

First I want to commend Travis for his incorporation of the GLO's into the showing of a movie in class. My principal will love that. We too have discovery education and they do have some really great stuff and you have the easy option of showing an entire clip or only a certain part of it. I also like to use clips from Khan Academy. They have an amazing array of offerings.

Vincent Lowery
Vincent Lowery
2750 Activity Points

This semester I am taking NSTA's Science in Movies course and I loved reading the article "Life" in Movies by M. Berumen. I would also recommend "I'll Bring the Popcorn" by Blickenstaff. These have given me some good ideas on how to use popular movies to ask critical questions about topics in science. I just finished doing a lesson using "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" with my fourth graders wherein I used a clip from the movie to engage them in ideas revolving around the scientific process. The standard of scientific investigation and understanding the difference between observation and inference were the focus, and the clip really got them started on some deep conversations about what scientists actually "do". I'm going to use Jurassic Park next to explore some concepts in Earth science. Any suggestions about other movies for Earth and Environmental sciences would be greatly appreciated. I enjoyed reading these past posts!

Paula Roknick-Evans
Paula Roknick-Evans
2505 Activity Points

In my 7th grade, life science class, I use the following movies for each unit after students complete a project where they research and present. *Cell= "Contagion" *Genetics= "GATTACA" or "Secretariat" *Evolution= "Darwin's Journey" PBS special and "Jarrasic Park," if I have time *Ecology= "The Lion King"

Monica Chavez
Monica Chavez
1500 Activity Points

Hi Monica- would you mind sharing more on how you have them research the movies? I've had my students in 10th grade watch GATTACA after our Genetics unit and they really enjoy it. Some coworkers have also told me about Idiocracy, but I haven't had time to watch it yet. Had anyone heard of it and would it be appropriate for the classroom? Thanks!

Lynn Yamada
Lynn Yamada
3020 Activity Points

A movie that I have used in the past for social studies, but which I think can apply to science is Rabbit Prrof Fence, a true story of 3 young aboriginal girls who walk over 1000 miles across the Australian outback and desert to find their way home. They have to avoid being caught by the government. Students answer questions about how these girls were able to survive. It is a test of endurance for the characters in the story as well as for the students watching the movie. We compare the resources that Hawaii has with those in Australia, and how young children are taught about their environment. You can also tie in political lessons about the treatment of native Hawaiians compared to the Aboriginal people. There is a discussion in the movie on genetic traits and how interbreeding has resulted in an f3 generation which looks pure caucasian. In the past I have had students come in during recess to watch the movie again.

Jennifer Perry
Jennifer Perry
2250 Activity Points

A Movie that kind of goes into genetics enough for the students to understand the importance of DNA and what you could possibly do with it. They go into the topic a bit through out the movies and the students like the dinosaurs. Students can then do an activity of they had the DNA of Dinosaurs what attributes or body parts would they combine or create to make their dinosaur survive in today world.

Michael Leslie
Michael Leslie
2110 Activity Points

I love incorporating videos into my lessons, it is a great anticipatory set. The students get excited because it's "cool" to watch tv in school, especially movies that came out recently. The students don't realize that they can learn something from watching it. However, it does take time to find the portion of the movie you want to show and the legalities or requirements of showing videos publicly. Loren Nomura mentioned Discover Education in an earlier post. I also use Discover Education to show videos or clips. The videos are already broken up into clips or sections having to deal with a theme or topic, so you don't have to watch the entire video. Also, you have the rights to show the videos to your students. You can even assign videos and/or lessons for the students to complete on their own time. Thanks Travis Toriano for sharing the resource, Evolutionary Biology at the Movies: Analysis of Movie Plots Reveals Importance of Biological Issues to Students (Journal Article). There were some worthwhile suggestions.

Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino
Alana Kaopuiki-Pellegrino
1405 Activity Points

I liked your article "Life in Movies" as well, Alana. It gave me a lot to think about in howI structure a movie watching lesson. I've included a few movies and TV shows in my curriculum throughout the years. I really like the Dinosaurs episodes: "Power Erupts", "Charlene's Flat World", "If I were a Tree", and "Changing Nature." The kids seem to get the idea of what's being said, and they like the retro-feel of the Dinosaur puppets (I'm not sure if they're called 'muppets', or puppets). But, in general, I'm always leery of showing too many videos in school, because there's a district policy against. However, asking the kids to see them at home (or on YouTube, in the case of Dinosaurs) might be a nice work around. My biggest problem is finding a movie that fits my content area (earth and space science).

Angelo Laskowsky
Angelo Laskowsky
2190 Activity Points

There are also a ton of movies on environmental science topics that are profoundly interesting. Many of my favorites have political messages as well that may need to be explained to encourage diversity or as not to be insulting. Some of my favorites are Vanishing Bees, Gasland, Bag It, The End of the Line, and King Corn: You are What You Eat. These films are enlightening and frightening. The impact of our technology on the environment and ourselves is eye opening through these film makers. I have watched these films on Netflix. Prepare to want to yell at how crazy humans are.

Erin Mendelson
Erin Mendelson
2680 Activity Points

As I was researching, a buddy of mine came up with a score of movies for me to use. They all look like great titles (and I see a few of them are used here as well), but I'm having a bit of an issue figuring out where they would fit. Gorillas in the Mist Fern Gully Hoot March of the Penguins On Deadly Ground 11th Hour Anima Mundi(documentary) The Day the Earth Stood Still Nausica of the Valley of the Wind Metropolis Voices of a Distant Star The Lorax Jurassic Park Secret Garden Gattaca Avatar 2012 The Day After Tomorrow Finding Nemo Erin Brokavitch The Core Armaggedon Deep Impact Volcano Futurama clips Dinosaur clips Some of these are pretty evident. But others, I'm stumped by. I know I'm using Finding Nemo this quarter, and then the Day After Tomorrow, and the Core later on, and then Armageddon or 2012 after that in my 8th grade science class. For my Aquaponics course, I want to show the Lorax, Fern Gully, and Nausica of the Valley of the Wind. But, I'm not sure how any of those other movies would fit in. So, I'm asking you guys. Do you guys see any connections between those movies and either the 8th grade science standards or a class about aquaponics and ecology?

Angelo Laskowsky
Angelo Laskowsky
2190 Activity Points

Students really enjoy movies in the classroom and I try to incorporate when possible but the lack of time is usually the problem. The movies I share with my Kindergarteners are usually The Magic School Bus and Leap Frog. Magic School bus presents science idea in a cartoon format and also tie into the stories avaiable. Leaf Frog is amazing for letters, sounds, etc. I always keep something on hand especially for indoor recess that way the students have something to watch that has relevance to their lessons.

Arleen Bourcier
Arleen Bourcier
1570 Activity Points

I showed "Finding Nemo" this passed week and I loved it! it was a pretty neat formative assessment, as well. I had them answer some questions, and I realized that my kids were confused about seafloor features, as well as ecosystems vs habitat. What I like about using a movie is that it's another way to assess understanding, since the kids have to relate what they've learned in class to what they're seeing. I'm hoping to get a bit more metacognitive with my next movie foray when I show clips of "The Day After Tomorrow", and have them state which parts are "possible" and which parts are "only possible in Hollywood Land", but then also have them analyze which helped them understand how thermohaline circulation in the ocean regulates Earth's climate.

Angelo Laskowsky
Angelo Laskowsky
2190 Activity Points

That's a great idea to show Nemo! My 10th graders would love it and I agree that I feel it may help them understand and create a visual to remember ecosystem and habitat. Thanks for sharing!

Lynn Yamada
Lynn Yamada
3020 Activity Points

Thank you everyone for the great ideas about using movies to teach concepts in the classroom! I am a kindergarten teacher struggling to find new ways to engage my students in what they are learning, especially since many of them have very short attention spans. I think it is very important, like everyone stated, to make sure what you show is being explained before presented to the kids so they will have that in mind while watching the movie clips. More so for the younger students, I think incorporating songs helps them to remember what they are learning. I have not used songs for science content, but I am sure there are readily available ones, maybe on YouTube?? I know that YouTube cannot be accessible to schools in Hawaii, but I have found a program that downloads YouTube videos so that you can use it in your classroom without going on the site at school. This program is called VideoGet and I found it online. There is a free trial that you can download and with that you can download up to 20 free videos. The paid program costs $25 and they said that program is unrestricted so I am guessing you could get an unlimited amount of videos if you pay this price. I think it is worth it and am contemplating buying this program since I used up all my 20 videos already. :)

Rachel Tsutsui-Keuma
Rachel Tsutsui-Keuma
850 Activity Points

@Rachel You can use http://download.cnet.com/Free-YouTube-Downloader/3000-2071_4-75219434.html It's a free YouTube downloader, and is pretty reputable. I try to never pay for anything if I can help it, especially when I'm pulling using the program to download files from a free site.

Angelo Laskowsky
Angelo Laskowsky
2190 Activity Points

My 11th grade plants and animals class was studying the Pacific Oean and Coral Reefs. Last week I showed them a chapter from a mini-series produced in Great Britain in 1987 about Captain Cook. The chapter Terra Australis was when Cook's ship got caught on the Great Barrier Reef. It was exciting watching the crew bail below deck as those on deck were ordered to throw almost everything overboard in an attempt to lighten the ship. There was a discussion about the expanse of this reef, tides, about the importance of preserving the scientist's work, and how there were not enough life boats for the entire crew. Cook admitted that he never learned to swim. After the high tide came and went without any effect, Cook ordered the crew to "heave", literaly pulling on the ship with ropes attached to oarsmen in lifeboats. After they patched the hole made by the coral, they headed for Batavia to a dry dock facility where they encounter malaria and the loss of many men. This film is only available in a region 4 format, but it does play from my laptop (not in my dvd player). Amazon has a listing for it although it has not been available for many years. I was fortunate that a friend from Australia found it: Captain James Cook ( Wind und Sterne ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.4 Import - Australia ] Format: DVD -Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock. Region 4 encoding (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the US or Canada [Region 1]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV.)

Jennifer Perry
Jennifer Perry
2250 Activity Points

thanks Angelo ! Yes, I love free its better that way! i also just recently found Keepvid.com that downloads for free as well! thanks for the tip though, it is very much appreciated!! I love more money in my wallet! :)

Rachel Tsutsui-Keuma
Rachel Tsutsui-Keuma
850 Activity Points

I find out the my students (Kindergarten) like Magic School Bus for science and the Leap Frog series for the letters, sounds and making words. This year, I incorporated the movie Star Trek (the latest one)to introduce the unit on celestial objects and Contact to end the unit to see if they can draw/name the celestial objects they see. My students enjoyed the Star Trek clip and in 2 weeks, I will show them the Contact clip.

Patricia Reid
Patricia Reid
1850 Activity Points

Introducing the topic of a zombie apocalypse watching "I am Legend" is a real great way to get students thinking on point about viruses, prions, outbreaks, biological engineering, and evolution. Just thirty minutes into the movie they lose themselves in a fictional setting that becomes a platform for them to analyze the real world. Video is a wonderful hook for any given new topic for modern teens.

Michele Bloomquist
Michele Bloomquist
2395 Activity Points

Post Reply

Forum content is subject to the same rules as NSTA List Serves. Rules and disclaimers