Using video clips in the classroom is nothing new – a couple companies have even made a business model for this educational niche. But Hollywood movies can also have educational value, especially when trying to find errors and discrepancies within them. To assess some basic properties in matter in my chemistry class, I have been utilizing movie clips for help.
When teaching density, I use a clip from Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark [You Tube Clip] whereby Indiana tries to swap a gold idol with an equivalent VOLUME of sand. Obviously, Indiana gets the mass wrong, as sand and gold have quite different densities. A similar exercise can be found at Glencoe Science.
Moving on to chemical versus physical change, I get a little help from the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz [You Tube Clip]. In the movie, the witch clearly claims that she is melting. Using clear evidence in the film, I ask the students to defend if she is really melting, or if she is chemically reacting, sublimating or vaporizing.
Of course, movie clips can be used in many other areas of science (see below) and in other disciplines. Imagine having students compare inconsistencies in the Hollywood version of a classic novel to its literary original. How do you use movie clips in class?