My blog will make a lot more sense if I give some background information on myself first. I’m a Creative Writing major, and I am not part of the Honors Program. I am taking this class because I was interested in the subject matter, and I’m considering a job in screenwriting.
With that established, I have to say that I thought the article “The Impact of Science Fiction Film on Student Understanding of Science” was a little shaky on the point they were trying to make. I found myself agreeing with the film critics more so than the scientist writing the article. Film critics were quoted as saying “the point of fictional visual media is not to devise ‘accurate/educational’ communications about science, but to produce images of science that are entertaining.” From someone currently studying fiction under a microscope (bad pun), I know fiction’s main purpose is to entertain, not educate. Yes, Science Fiction films use real science then use it as a jumping off point to make up whatever they want. Is that morally wrong? I don’t think so. To be a good writer you need to establish the story in reality, whether it’s the “reality” we live in or the “reality” of the world of the movie/T.V. show. From there the audience is supposed to suspend their disbelief, being able to enjoy the entertainment while not taking everything they see at face value. The Core is not a scientific documentary, it shouldn’t be held to the same standards as one either.
They way the scientists used the film in their study made their findings very predictable to me. There is a big difference between watching a movie in your spare time and having a teacher incorporate it into the actual lesson plan. It was like these scientists were setting these kids up to answer the way they did. If a teacher has me watch a movie for a class, and we don’t critically critique it, and it was blended in with similar classroom studies, and I was an eighth grader, I would have used deductive reasoning to assume my teacher wanted me to watch this because it held some validity for the unit. I wouldn’t understand why my SCIENCE teacher would want me to watch a movie if it was inaccurate, especially combining it with a correlating unit.
Aside from that, two of the arguments they make really didn’t seem sound to me. The first one was that Science Fiction movies portray scientists as stereotypes. Whoa! It’s not like every other occupation in the world is stereotyped. Hello, cop movies. And they all seem puzzled as to why the students seemed more attracted by the movie than their labs in class. Actors are trained entertainers, so they’re job is to be memorable.
However, I do agree that teachers should know what Science Fiction movies are saying so they can teach younger kids about the truths of science. I also think it’s a good idea for teachers to critique Science Fiction movies with their class, because it’s an effective learning tool.