An Awesome Teaching Moment

After about 3 months of school I have come to find that I have already experienced a great teaching moment. Or maybe a great teaching strategy? Or how about the the Good for this year?  Yep I think it already happened.  Every year I end with the good, the bad and the ugly. Well the good has happened. Or so I think.

I gave my students an extra credit assignment. Oh I know some teachers don’t believe in extra credit or anything that would even resemble this type of assignment. Well I do and my reason for doing this assignment is whole other argument. Anyway, I gave students the opportunity to go see the movie “The Martian”.  Since I teach High School, all my students are older than 13 years and can see the movie. But be warned it is PG-13, and has some language in it. I made sure my students knew this and spoke to their parents before attending the movie. It worked out because a good number of my parents went with their children.

After seeing the movie, students had an assignment to complete. They were required to complete the assignment and hand in their tickets with parents signature. The assignment included the questions below:

Describe 3 scenes in which science plays a major role in helping the character Mark Watney survive on the planet

Give two scenes that the science is questionable . Make sure you explain your answer

What was your opinion of the movie? Would you now read this book? Did this movie stir any interest in Mars or Space Exploration?

The last question was the one I was surprised and impressed with. First, I think it was a win win situation as they say. Most students went with their parents and it was family night out. Good way to get parents involved. Second students were very impressed with the movie and really enjoyed it. One said “I was surprised I liked the movie so much when it had so much science in it”.  I couldn’t help but smile at that. Other’s said they would like to find out more about Mars and Space exploration. But the greatest take away from this, they all agreed they wanted to read the book now. For a high schooler to say they are interested in the Science and then to want to read a book, I would say the assignment was an success. When I surveyed the students about a project for next semester, I asked if they would read a book, answer resounding YES! If I do make this a project I would choose “Rocket Boys” by Homer Hickman  or “The Martian”. But I will admit I’m still working on my Genius Hour Project.

The Martian movie I think did its job. Kudos to NASA, Andrew Weir and others for peeking the interest of my students. I know that when some get to high school they lose that “excitement” about science. This has sparked some excitement in my students and now we are participating in  a webnair with NASA about Mars. Also, I became moderator of Space Explorers Club and I have had students asking me about Space Camp. Yep, a definite Win Win!


About rippie77

Science Teacher at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh NC.

Posted on October 20, 2015, in Class Ideas, Teacher Ideas. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Everything about this assignment is authentic and effective! And, as a librarian, I love hearing that they want to read a book!

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