Don’t underestimate these Sci-Fi savy 5th graders…

Today, a fifth grader told me she wished she could come teach our class because she was a big fan of Star Wars and had a lot of insight into whether the future will resemble that futuristic galaxy. I think I met a future best friend. Overall, best service/final project ever. We were guests in Ms. Dobbs’ 5th grade classroom where we showed three clips from the movies Indiana Jones, The Core, and Dante’s Peak. I won’t lie I was a bit apprehensive –a passing teacher in the hallway told us we could take these kids home with us if we wanted, not a great sign. But the kids, initially being rowdy and obviously driving the substitute teacher up the wall, calmed down when we turned on the clips. They were obviously interested and had some great reactions towards parts of the movies. They loved the atomic explosion in Indiana and thought the family saving their dog in the volcano of Dante’s was pretty ridiculous.

The best part of our time there was getting with some of the kids for discussion. I was with three kids who were immediately ready to talk about what they just saw. I asked them what they had been studying in science recently and they said landforms. No offense to the shape of the earth but I am confident that nuclear bombs, the earth’s core and volcanoes are a tad more attention grabbing. Starting them off with Indiana, they knew Indiana would not have lived through the nuclear bomb in a fridge and figured out for themselves why there was a pretend town for bomb testing. Moving on to The Core, they knew about the composition of the earth and they were eager to know if what was said in the film was true. They understood it the most when we put into simple terms that it is the atmosphere, which they had been studying that protects the earth and not Electromagnetic Waves. For the last clip on Dante’s Peak, there was a large consensus that the family in the movie was plain stupid. I was impressed with how much they knew about volcanoes, one girl even correctly referenced Mt. St. Helen’s eruption in the 1970s. They easily picked out why the car on hot lava was just ridiculous.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with what these kids already knew and what they were curious about. They totally got that movies will lie and make science look bigger, better, and false in order to sell a movie. When I asked them why we are so willing to buy into it, their response was something along the lines of we love to watch what is exciting and entertaining, even if it could never really happen. We just have to be careful of what we believe, and find out for ourselves what is true from movies. In my opinion, these kids could run over to our Honors class on Tuesday afternoons and be just fine. They would definitely add a new, young, and fresh perspective to movies that they do not take too seriously. They just enjoy them –they do not pick them apart but they do know that it is alright to be a bit curious about whether science is correctly portrayed in some of their favorite movies.

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