16 Sep 2011
There is a great deal of justification for showing a movie during the last week of
school. Finals are done, there are grades to post, and the classroom has to be cleaned.
The students know very well that the year is over, and those that are still coming to
school are sick of the sound of the teacher’s voice. A brilliant educator has a knack for
finding the educational value in almost anything; it is having others see it that is the
challenge. Here is a list of practical tips:
Always have the objective and standards listed on the board
Prepare a list of discussion questions
Pause the movie frequently to ask a question relating to what the
students have learned
Do not make popcorn
The movie The Cave is a great learning tool for explaining cave formation and
exploration to seventh-graders. The imagery in the movie relates what the students
would read about caves in a textbook. There is an engaging storyline about a group of
scientists sent to explore a cave in Romania. Except for the monsters, for which there is
a scientific explanation, much can be learned about caves from this movie.
This movie does contain a little blood and some profanity (it is rated PG-13), but
these are not focal points and will not shock the average seventh-grader. The movie’s
elements can be incorporated into a regular lesson on groundwater and erosion, with
this sample list of discussion questions:
1. Where were the caves located?
2. How were the caves formed?
3. Do you think Karst Topography was a factor in the formation of these caves?
4. What are some of the technologies/equipment used to explore caves? How do
they help with cave exploration?
5. What preparation did the scientists have to make in exploring the caves?
6. What are some of the physical features of the caves (think of some of the ones
we studied—did you see them in this movie?)?
7. Aside from monsters, what are some of the possible dangers of cave
8. What are some adaptations that inhabitants of caves develop?
There are many other movies that have as a feature science themes (aside from
the usual science fiction aliens, but they are included in textbooks as well—political
correctness for extraterrestrials?), so whatever the theme is that is needed for the
lesson is accessible in a Google search. It is recommended that the movie is ageappropriate,
since for some reason movie-makers feel it is necessary to include profanity
for realism. They really should consider making school versions.
Hercules Editing and Consulting
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