I was really excited when Nick came up with the idea to give some elementary school kids kind of a mini lesson on the class we are taking, and use it as our final project. I’ve learned a lot from this class, and I know I watch Science Fiction films differently since I’ve started the semester. So, I was eager to be able to take what we learned and teach someone else. The only thing I was even slightly hesitant about was that the kids were so young. Most if not all of the movies we have watched as a class have not been very appropriate to play at an elementary school for fifth graders. And yes, I do find it a little ironic that I am saying this, considering my movie Idiocrasy had the most sex and profanity than any of the other movies we watched. But, I expected we would have a very hard time coming up with clips to show these kids. When I think of Science Fiction, I think of movies like Alien, Signs, Sunshine, and other rated R or PG-13 movies. However, when I did begin to look for clips, I found that I was completely wrong.
I started by thinking of shows I personally watched as a kid that had science in it as kind of a spring board for brainstorming. In less time than I expected I thought of The Secret World of Alex Mac, which is about a girl who has a chemical toxin spilled on her and she gets super powers. I also thought of Wild Thornberry’s, which kind of had science with her parents doing a nature show, and there were a lot of animals on the show. Then I thought of cartoons that had things that were unbelievable, like Wile E. Coyote and all the contraptions he makes that defy gravity, and logic, and a lot of other things. Sponge Bob Square Pants, while a silly show, does almost unabashedly play with things like having a fire under water, or a lake where Sponge Bob can’t swim even though he is on the bottom of the ocean, and a squirrel who can somehow survive in a little glass dome where her tree and grass grow perfectly. The show also features a wide variety of sea creatures, and the show’s creature was actually a marine biologist before he created Sponge Bob.
Once I had a few ideas, I went to YouTube to find some of this stuff, and was happy to find things I didn’t initially think of. YouTube had a good amount of clips from The Muppet Show that centered on mock lab tests that not only showed a very unrealistic laboratory with flashing buttons and robots and computers, but their inventions were ridiculous as well. I also found a more modern show, Jimmy Neutron, which is about a kid scientist. The clip I found was him building a rocket and testing it on his friend. I thought the clip would work with how he couldn’t make the rocket, and talk about some of the stereotypes of people interested in science, like using his friend as a guinea pig. This may be too subtle for fifth graders, so I’m still on the lookout.