Good Movie to Show Middle Schoolers

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Peregrin5, May 29, 2012.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I would like some suggestions on a movie to show Middle Schoolers in a Science Classroom. I don't really want documentary style.

    We watched Contact earlier this year which was great because we talked about the clashes between science and religion and what life on other planets might mean for us.

    I'm looking for either a science related movie, or even something related to young-adult life or the transition from middle school to high school (peer pressure, gang violence, abuse, etc.), because we're learning about all this in our Family Life units.

    It does have to be PG though, because I don't really feel like getting permission slips out to all the parents, etc.

    Any ideas?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Why do you want to show a movie?
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    October Sky

    The true story of high school student Homer Hickam growing up in the mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia. Seeing the Russian satellite Spuknik flying over his town had a profound effect on him. Studying advance math, chemistry, and engineering, he and several friends designed and launched their own rockets.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    We've covered all of the science curriculum, and the health curriculum will have been fully covered by tomorrow. The other cooperating teacher is merely doing games and preferred activity time. We've only shown one movie the entire year (during STAR testing), and the kids said they want to see one more before the year ends. (This is the last week of actual instruction, next week, they're doing promotion rehearsals, yearbook signings, and field trips.) I want to end them on something about science practice that they can think about or some movie that will help them think about the gravity of entering high school and the challenges they'll face.

    We will definitely accompany the movie with a meaningful discussion, as we did with Contact.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Ah! I remember this movie. It was awesome. Though whether or not my students will like it is hard to say.
     
  7. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    How about Stand And Deliver? It's a math teacher, not science, but it still has the overall message of overcoming obstacles and making education a priority.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I guess I feel like some sort of enrichment activity would be better, especially for students who have been misbehaving all year. A movie seems like too much of a reward for their inappropriate behaviors and attitudes.
     
  9. AlwaysAttend

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    Seconded
     
  10. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I plan to show "Wall-E" to my Language Arts class after having an in-depth conversation about theme, but it would work for Science (recycling, conservation of natural resources, scientific advances in space travel/habitation, etc).
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 29, 2012

    Some suggestions:

    Science related:
    E.T.
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Wargames
    Super 8 (good movie, but rated PG-13)
    Mythbusters, Jeff Corwin, How It's Made, etc (all available to watch instantly on Netflix)

    Coming of Age:
    The Outsiders
    The Karate Kid (just remember the original may have some objectionable language)
    Harry Potter movies
    Chronicles of Narnia
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My students will be watching The Outsiders in about 3 weeks--after we finish our study of the novel. One other movie they watched this year was Remember the Titans. It served a dual purpose--a media piece for our Freedom unit, and source material for a character development essay.
     
  13. Ross

    Ross Comrade

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    You can never go wrong showing a movie or teaching about the space program! :)
     
  14. glen

    glen Companion

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    What about showing an episode of Numbers? There are learning activities available online that explain the math used in individual episodes.
     
  15. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    There are lots of space related lessons that go with Apollo 13. PG rated but lots of swearing (mild words though).
    I've used Nim's Island because we teach volcanoes and oceanography.
    How to Eat Fried worms has a great anti bullying message.
     
  16. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    When I was subbing last year, probably right around this time, in a science classroom, the students were watching that. They were 7/8 graders and loved it.
     
  17. Linguist92021

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    I showed the "An inconvenient truth" in my geography class a couple of months ago. We did talk about global warming, and a lot of the causes before that.
    for this movie I created a guide for movie notes (questions they had to answer while watching the movie), and before it, we went I've greenhouse gases, etc. We stopped a lot of times so I could explain stuff, and it went very well.

    I'm planning on showing them another movie next week, and I figured might as well make it global warming related because it keeps coming up (of course). Netflix has a lot of movie I can stream, I watched '6 degrees' (I think that's the title), and sounded good. If I don't find a better one, I'm showing that, the same way I did the other one (notes, tie to previously covered material, etc)
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Did you cover the arguments AGAINST many of the points in 'An Inconvenient Truth'? Not really the most unbiased movie one could show. :2cents:
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Actually I didn't :) I only focused on what was said. My kids, as much school as they have missed, probably never really heard all the possible causes of global warming. I like this movie, it explains everything real well, in my opinion. I know it's controversial, and biased, but I was saving those points for another day.
     
  20. Cerek

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    Hmmmmm.....I felt about half of the movie was dedicated to Al Gore moaning about losing not being elected President. Ok, maybe it was only about one third, but still, there was a LOT of misinformation and proselytizing. The flaws in the film have been well-documented, both on the internet and in a court of law, but some of the material presented is still worthwhile.

    Since you've shown that film, perhaps you would consider showing "Cool It" as a counterpoint. It still agrees global warming is occurring, but presents the causes and other facts in a more objective manner, IMO.
     
  21. Linguist92021

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    sure, I'll check it out! Thanks! I was browsing these movies on Netflix, and there are quite a few of them, but only saw 6 degrees in its entirety. It's ok, but I think I will find something better.
     
  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It would be a great lesson in critical thinking to review and analyze the opinions, arguments and data on both sides. A discussion of politics, media bias and manipulation of data could be included as follow up. To present the movie as 'the complete truth' (the title is a misnomer) does your students a disservice.
     
  23. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    O_O I hope I haven't made it seem like ALL my classes have been misbehaving. My other classes are perfectly fine. In fact, they're amazing. And even in the difficult class there are only one or two who are openly defiant or misbehaving. Actually, I've made progress with many students in that class that other teachers have simply given up on, or constantly tell me horrible things about.

    It's probably one of those cases where you hear about all the negative things in my life because I need help on them, that I forget to share the good things. Actually, I am extremely happy with the progress I've made with that class over the year. There's just that one student who has been a continuous issue. >_< The other student is simply feeding upon that. Otherwise I have pretty much successfully disconnected the wall these students put up for me when I first came in.

    And really, it's all thanks to you guys. =] :hugs:
     
  24. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I taught a science-fiction unit, and I showed "Gattaca," and a clip from "Artifical Intelligence" I had them identify the theme and identify characteristics of sci-fi in the films. It's pg-13, so it's fine for 7th and 8th grades.
     
  25. Shanoo

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    Firstly, I'm gonna t/j a little here to say that I don't see why showing movies are such a huge deal. As in "you show a movie, you must be a bad teacher". Sooooo not true. Especially where our English and French curriculums have strands called Reading and Viewing. Our students are expected to be able to critically view pieces of work, comment on them and voice an opinion. There is so much cross-curricular work you can do by showing movies! Obviously a teacher showing movies instead of teaching is an issue. But I see no problem with a movie being shown to enhance what the students are learning OR when the teacher has taught everything they were expected to teach that year.

    With that being said, my students loved, loved, loved Mythbusters episodes. In Grade 10 Science, we were studying the reactivity of alkali metals, so I showed them the episode where they put sodium in the toilet and potassium in the bathtub. The kids loved it.
     
  26. ChristyF

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    After we finish our rocks/soil unit I show my kids Journey to the Center of the Earth. (The 1959 one.) Because of the age of kids, the first part, building up to the journey gets several stops and starts as I explain it. Then, once they are in Earth, the kids watch for aspects that #1 make it fiction instead of nonfiction, and the things that couldn't work and why. They love it and really make some great connections back to what we learned about the layers of Earth, rocks, etc. For fun, during testing week we watch the newer version. Less learning there, (a cool little mini lesson on magnetic rocks, though) and they like to compare the two.
     
  27. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Age-wise, PG-13 fits, but be sure to check with your school if showing a PG-13 movie (not saying that you didn't, Milsey). I'm not allowed to show PG-13 movies and must be careful about PG.
     
  28. Linguist92021

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    Most schools require parental consent and option to opt-out for PG-13 movies. Even where I am, the students are age 16-19, I still have to get authorization from principal and director of probation to show PG 13.

    I decided that for the remainder of my time here (June) weeks I'm showing movies, of course they're all tied to curriculum. I chose PG or not rated so I don't have to get approval (could take too long). In geography we're watching Carbon Nation, which is exactly what we've been covering for the past few weeks. For English, we watched Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson story (identify theme based on character conflicts and resolutions), next week we'll do Radio (elements of a story, plot diagram, etc), and if we have time we'll also do the Helen Keller movie (Miracle Worker)

    In my opinion showing movies is not a bad thing as long as it's done sparingly. I would never show movies like this, back to back, only 1 in every few months, but my last day is June 29th, that's when our grading period ends and technically that's when I have to submit all my grades. This normally takes a week because we have to review all the transcripts to see exactly what to give credit for (do they need English 11 or 12? exactly how many credits? did they satisfy World Geo already, because in that case I can give theme electives in General Studies, etc) I don't feel like doing it after I'm gone from my school (I don't even think I'm supposed to) so I don't want to have a ton of things graded during the last weeks. The students have classwork, movie notes, but that won't take too long to overlook.
     
  29. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    <<It's pg-13, so it's fine for 7th and 8th grades. >>

    I will never, ever understand this logic. PG-13 means "Parental guidance strongly recommended." We beg parents to be more involved in their students' lives and education and then we go ahead and decide to take their place and show whatever content we feel like.
     
  30. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    As others pointed out, a PG-13 movie usually requires a permission slip signed by the parent before a student can watch it. In my previous school (middle school), we could only show movies rated PG or G. In another middle school in the same district, only G-rated movies were allowed so the school would not have to send permission slips home.

    My experience is admittedly limited, but I don't know of any middle school that just decides they want to show a PG-13 movie whether the parents like it or not. I can see a case being made for specific movies that fit the content being taught, but even those usually require a permission slip first.
     
  31. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Yeah, I think we're required to have permission slips for PG-13 movies as well. As Linguist said, I'd rather just show PG movies rather than deal with the hassle.

    BTW, I ended up showing October Sky, and the kids LOVED it. It's actually very relatable to them despite the fact that it was all white kids in the 50s.

    It was students getting out of a situation that they were born into with the help of their community. Wonderful recommendation, and thank you for it.

    Actually, Milsey, I'm very interested in adding a Science Fiction Unit/Background Unit to the curriculum, mind if I PM with you about it?
     
  32. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Jun 16, 2012

    okay
     
  33. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I just found out that our grades have to be out in by next Friday, but our grading period ends on the 29th. Everyone is confused and not pleased about it - I'm not, this way I can justify the movies even better.

    By the way I showed 'Radio' this week. All the kids loved it, I even cried a little :(. It's PG, so absolutely suitable for all ages - my kids are 16-18 (a lot of them over 18) and still loved it. I used to analyze character conflicts, climax and resolution, as with any movie, it's easy :)
     
  34. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I didn't show any movies at all, though the other ES teacher did. My kids were bitter about it. Kids do not sit in my class and play on Facebook or their cell phone. If I had shown a movie, they wouldn't have liked the work that went along with it!

    I had them do a project of their choosing based on their skills and talents--I had one kid do an interpretive dance, and another wrote a short play.

    It was frustrating. We have many kids out for service projects, so not only did testing end, but most of my class was exempt. I was also told by a concerned admin that my project must not impact grades.

    What are we supposed to do for the last 2 weeks? Seniors are seriously lacking motivation anyway by that point, and if we have no "stick" to make them do it, many will refuse. Several of my students just quit coming to class in order to avoid the project. I had to harangue a few others to get them to buy into it, which they finally did.

    The there are the parents. The same parents who are livid that their kids watch movies all day in school are also on the phone to the principal if any grade changes by a tenth of a percent after testing.

    I would actually show movies if I didn't think that the permissions and justifications were more trouble than they are worth. There are a lot of popular movies that perpetuate horrible misconceptions about Earth Science, so showing them in a controlled, guided environment is a great way of helping the kids learn to critically analyze things.
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    An earth science project sounds fun though. I think going out and collecting and analyzing geological samples would be really fun (but then again I am a science geek).

    It seems like you teach High School. I'm sure they'll let you show certain rated movies without permissions and things (like PG or PG-13).

    Linguist: Radio is a great movie! My sister and I watched it at least a dozen times.
     

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