Science and Maths through Film! An interdisciplinary approach for IB and beyond.

A product of XIXth Century Scientific Positivism, science fiction has been present in popular culture for a long time, in almost any shape that would take it. It seems, though, that cinema has provided a natural medium in which science fiction can display a lot of its potential. With visually arresting images, and a flexibility in terms of narrative, film can accommodate the vast imagination of writers that like to live in the future or in worlds completely different to our own.
Science and Maths were instrumental in the birth and development of cinema, from a technical and theoretical perspective. Together with science fiction in movies, these points of contact provide a fertile ground for collaboration. In the first incarnation of this project, in 2012, we had focused on content and narrative styles, leaving the technical discussion for future development. This time around, with the incorporation of Pedro Odón, from the Maths Department, we felt we could confidently tackle all the details behind the technical reasoning.
Within the framework of IB Diploma we viewed this collaboration as an opportunity for our students to see their knowledge in action, both from IB Science and from IB Film. We also decided to approach our teaching in a collaborative way, working together in class and out of class, generating class material and showing our interactions in class. This allowed us to strengthen the idea that knowledge in real life is not classified in separate containers, and that working across disciplines is fundamental and necessary.
This year, we decided to expand the previous project by holding weekly meetings at midday, in the form of the Sci-Fi Club, every Friday for more than six months. This allowed us to cover many more films with different science and maths topics in them, with in depth discussions involving presentations both by teachers and students.
Not only collaboration is part of the essential skills to be developed in the 21st century, but so is the generation and critical analysis of media. We believe that through the activities and discussions we provided we can give our students a starting point for the development of these skills. Also, though we addressed the top students in our lessons, we realized that the material was suitable for using in lower levels as starters for different topics.
Every Friday then, during lunch, in C floor, we gather to dissect clips from some of our favorite movies and we turn them inside out. We love science fiction, but not just any film, we love those that keep a high standard in terms of science, maths and storytelling.
Pedro Odón
Luciana Savanti
Alejandro Solernó

Categories: Professional Development Contest 2014

5 replies

  1. Great to know that this is happening in SASS!!!

  2. Do you have any documents on what you have spotted in these films?

  3. Of course! 🙂 We’ll be uploading the topics and discussions with accompanying documentation next week.

  4. Great article 😀


  1. Science, Maths and Film: Closing and Next Steps. | Learning @ SASS

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