How many times in class have we felt like wandering in a lost world? In this blog, I will use this analogy merely for educational purposes. Spoiling alert: Steven Spielberg should be so proud of me!
When reviewing for Environmental Science and Societies, I was having problems with some abstract concepts. Many times we use terms but we cannot put them in students’ own words. Their view of the world is too complex at that age. Today, I would like to share my experience about how I used a Hollywood movie to recreate science terms.
Students were not able to understand what an “ecotron” was, or even how some animals might live in captivity. After several failed attempts trying to explain this, I got a last opportunity. I asked them if they have watched the film Jurassic Park. They looked disoriented and stared at me waiting for some kind of connection with the topic. I recalled one scene from the film where the T-Rex was being fed in a cage and things didn’t go well. The whole conversation went something like this:
-Me: Ok. So, what is an ecotron?
-Me: An ecotron. An artificial ecosystem.
-They: No idea. Some clue?
-Me: That is the clue. Artificial??? Ecosystem???
-They: Still no idea.
-Me: Ok. Have you watched Jurassic Park?
-Me: Do you remember that scene where the T-Rex was being fed? Do you recall what happened?
-They: Oh yeah! Things got crazy.
-They: Well, because that was an artificial habitat for the T-Rex. In the first place, it was not supposed to be there. That is a human invention, it is not natural.
-Me: Now you got it! End of the lesson.
We finished the day by watching a preview of Jurassic Park and commenting about things that go right and wrong with artificial habitats.
Thank you to Sean and Arthur for making this blog entry possible!
Photo by Joseph Ryan Buhia CC BY-NC-ND 2.0