Using Popular Movies for School

A five cent movie house, 1917.
A five cent movie house, 1917. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Lately we have had some wonderful opportunities to explore different subjects through popular movies. It has been great to find ways to extend the videos through discussion and research that make movie watching more than “just watching a movie”. 

For me it has given the movies a greater reality or meaning and I am pretty sure that has been the case for Elizabeth as well. Here are a few examples...


Elizabeth really wanted to watch The Phantom of the Opera. I wasn’t sure if she would like it but she really got into the story and the music. After we watched it we had a great time discussing the themes in the movie, the characters and the time in which it was written. Elizabeth was able to relate to Christine and how she was torn. She was able to understand the sacrifice that the Phantom had made and the love that they had. Elizabeth was able to appreciate the story behind the movie. This is a complex movie and the themes are rich. There was so much that was visually stimulating about the movie that it really drew us into the story so deeply. It became easy to understand the characters and their actions, and like life, when we wished they were different!


A completely different movie that Elizabeth wanted to watch was The Day After Tomorrow. I kept putting this one off until she was studying global warming, climate change and the salinity of the ocean. This movie was really an opportunity to explore these elements of science in an extreme and exaggerated way. After we watched the movie we then looked at several websites that would compare the actual science to the science in the movie. This was interesting...one of the articles we looked at started with this quote... “Like much science fiction, The Day After Tomorrow™ is based on some solid scientific fact.” (from Wunderground ) We also looked at an article from NBC News and another one from National Geographic. These articles gave Elizabeth an understanding of the solid scientific fact versus the science fiction! This also gave her current science theory and current events in science in an interesting way.

Two very different movies but both great for extending learning! 
Blessings, Natalie


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