It is important to get students excited about STEM! A great way to get your students excited about STEM is with movies. When used in the classroom correctly, movies can be a powerful teaching tool. You can use a film as a starting point for a class discussion, you can even do a hands-on activity related to the movie, the possibilities are endless! I have a handful of great films to recommend for the science classroom! The films below accurately depict STEM concepts, but you could show a science fiction film with unrealistic science and discuss with your students why the science in the film is not possible!
The first film I want to recommend is Hidden Figures. Hidden Figures is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly. This film follows the true story of three women who worked at NASA as “human computers” in the 50’s and 60’s making calculations that helped NASA launch the first man into space. This movie is very popular and there are a lot of classroom activities out there for this film! This film is rated PG.
Another great STEM movie is October Sky. October Sky is the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes. This film would be a great starting point for a discussion on physics, rocketry, or aerospace engineering! This film is rated PG.
The next film I recommend is The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind. This film is based on the true story of a Malawian boy named William Kamkwamba from the Kasungu region who saved his village from a terrible drought by learning how to build a windmill from a library book! This film is not rated but is suitable for students 11 years and older.
Another film I highly recommend is The March of the Penguins. The March of the Penguins is a documentary that follows emperor penguins in antarctica on their yearly journey to their ancestral breeding grounds. This film is rated G.
The last film I want to recommend is The Imitation Game. This film follows the true story of Alan Turing, the man responsible for cracking the Nazi code known as Enigma, which was thought of as unbreakable before Turing solved it. This film is rated PG-13.
If you are not a fan of movies in the classroom, there are lots of great nature documentaries out there, and lots of great educational science shows like Bill Nye the Science Guy! Planet Earth is a great documentary series to show in the classroom because the episodes are short and there are are ton of them!
I always recommend watching any movie yourself before you show it to your students, but if you do not have time for that, commonsensemedia.org collects reviews from parents and children and assigns an age rating to films! Another similar site is isthismoviesuitable.com. You should always make sure the film or show you would like to play for your students adheres to any policies put in place by your district or school!
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