The Science of Star Wars: Integrating Technology and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Thompson, Stephanie, Science Scope
Byline: Stephanie Thompson
Star Wars: The name alone implies action, adventure, the vastness of space, alien creatures, and of course, who can forget light sabers? The Star Wars saga has entertained millions of people around the world for years, so I asked myself: Why couldn't Star Wars motivate a group of students to delve into the depths of technology?
I decided to assign my students the task of designing and building a working light saber. A light saber is a fictional weapon created for the Star Wars movies. The light saber consists of a handgrip similar to a flashlight and a tube of colored light that forms the blade.
Mentioning the mythical weapon was all it took to send a group of kids off into a frenzy of collaboration. I had never seen this class show more motivation and excitement over a project. Who thought school could be fun?
The students were instructed to design, build, and explain the scientific reasoning behind their projects based on standards taken from the Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS 1994). The project aligns with the curriculum in that it allows students to demonstrate the appropriate use of the science process skills and use of technology in the classroom.
In the first few days of the project, the students were working and collaborating with one another to discuss design ideas for the light saber. Students had great ideas for assembling their own light saber, but found it difficult to create a set of detailed written instructions based on their ideas. I spent some time in class discussing methods of writing appropriate instructions, and provided appliance user manuals downloaded from the internet as examples of how instructions should be written.
I placed students into groups and had them compare the sets of …
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Publication information: Article title: The Science of Star Wars: Integrating Technology and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy. Contributors: Thompson, Stephanie - Author. Journal title: Science Scope. Publication date: November 2006. Page number: 55+. © 2009 National Science Teachers Association. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
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