# STEM/STEAM & The Movies

Just the name alone —The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences— reveals something about the people who make movies: these filmmakers consider themselves to be artists and scientists. Who are these people? What do they do? How do they use science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) in movie making? This web page is designed to provide you, the teacher, with readings, ideas and other resources for incorporating STEAM and film into instruction.

This is also a perfect opportunity to introduce film careers which utilize STEAM. There are a number of excellent features on DVDs which not only introduce those careers, but also take students behind-the-scenes into the making of a specific film. I have created a lengthy list of those DVDs here which you might wish to consider acquiring in order to help your students better appreciate the craft of filmmaking. (Many of these featurettes can also be found on YouTube.)

(NOTE: if you have a favorite resource or lesson plan that you would like to see added here, send it to me: fbaker1346@aol.com)

SCIENCE | FILM(S) REFERENCED | CONCEPTS |

The Science Behind Pixar (exhibit, lessons) | All Pixar films | Many |

Science of 3D Movies: How do images on a flat screen pop out? | depth perception; stereoscopic vision; polarized light | |

Visible invisibility: the science of cinematography | Saving Pvt Ryan Citizen Kane Vertigo Pulp Fiction Ben Hur Lawrence of Arabia A Space Odyssey Tangerine The Hateful Eight | exposure time chemicals resolution |

The Future Science of Star Wars | Star Wars | |

The Science in “The Martian” | The Martian | ion engines, orbital dynamics, interplanetary travel, chemistry, solar energy |

The Physics of “Back To The Future” | Back To The Future | special relativity photons general relativity |

How Science Helps Create Realistic Explosions in Movies | Avatar, Iron Man 3, Super 8, Man of Steel | wavelet turbulence |

Physics Journal Recommends Teachers Use Interstellar | Interstellar; Star Trek; Stargate | Wormholes; black holes |

Stunts Makes A Believer of Physics Expert | Fast & Furious 7 | speed; terminal velocity; momentum |

Neuroscientist Takes A Scientific Look at Art of Filmmaking | Airplane, Chicago, Moulin Rouge | Brain Science |

The Physics of Spiderman’s Webs | Spiderman | downward gravitational force; upward force; momentum; tension; velocity; kinematic equations; |

Science Goes To The Movies | Various | Varies |

Great & Realistic Physics Movies related: Good & Bad Examples from Movies (video) | Gravity, Apollo 13, October Sky, The Abyss, IQ, Infinity, 2001: A Space Odyssey | |

Science of Hollywood Stunts (video) | The Firm; A Time to Kill; Spiderman; Mission Impossible; | solid, liquids, gas, steam, expansion, chemical reactions, metal, hydrocarbon, fluids, carbon, refraction, atoms, gravity, compression, pulleys, force, direction, load, friction, vectors, pressure, electrical circuits, magnet |

Physics in Wall-E | Wall E | Applied Physics, Gravity |

Interstellar Film Technology & Black Holes The Surprising Science Behind Interstellar Christopher Nolan/Kip Thorne Discuss | Interstellar | Black Holes, Worm Holes, Caustics, Relativity |

Movie Magic Conjured by Science | Toy Story, Harry Potter, Hellboy, Quantum of Solace, Chronicles of Narnia, Tron | Fluid Dynamics |

Science of the Movies in 3D (Video) | Terminator 2; Metalstorm, Journey to The Center of the Earth | Stereo, Depth, Polarization, Light Waves |

How Movies Makers Use Science to Make Magic | The Incredibles, Jurrasic Park, Benjamin Button, Avengers, Pirates of the Carrribean, My Week With Marilyn, The Ten Commandments, Avatar | Visual effects, CG, third-degree polynomials, higher frame rates, 3D, linear perspective, aerial perspective, composition, X-Y graphing |

TECHNOLOGY | FILM(S) REFERENCED | CONCEPTS |

Motion Capture | Dawn of the Planet of the Apes | MoCap; CG |

Animal Kingdom | Chronicles of Narnia | |

How Does Green Screen Work? | Chromakey; luminance keying; compression | |

How Blue Screens Work | ET, Star Wars, Return of the Jedi, Back to The Future | Traveling matte; Blue screen, CG; optical compositing, matte; diffusion |

How do they create special effects | The Matrix; Lost in Space | rotation; slow motion |

ENGINEERING | FILM(S) REFERENCED | CONCEPTS |

Lights, Camera, Engineers | Avengers, Pearl Harbor | hydraulics, CG |

The Arrrt of Engineering | Pirates of the Caribbean | fluid animation |

An Engineer’s Dream Comes True: Working on Avatar (page 9) | Avatar | 3D |

The Science & Engineering of Sound (video) | Vibration, compression, rarefaction, amplitude, frequency, longitudinal wave, harmonic content, logarithmic scale, decibel, dynamics, microphones |

ARTS | FILM(S) REFERENCED | CONCEPTS |

The Art of Designing Digital Sets | Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Catwoman, V for Vendetta, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, The Golden Compass, Gladiator, Lord of the Rings, Avatar | Various |

How Film Composers Shape Our Feelings | X-Men; Sunshine; Hoffa; Aliens; 12 Years A Slave; The Tree of Live; Gravity; Inception | Many |

Animation adds STEAM to STEM | ||

Observations on Film Art | Many | Various |

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography (vide0) | Various | |

The Art of Movie Storyboards (book) | Many | Various |

Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design | Various | Various |

The Art of Foley | Looping | |

Film Art Director | Various |

MATH | FILM(S) REFERENCED | CONCEPTS |

Math in Special Effects | Music video | Algebra, Distance, Light Intensity, Exposure (photography) |

Film Aspect Ratio Related video | Captain America: Winter Solider; Citizen Kane; Ben Hur; A Serious Man; Oz: The Great And The Powerful; The Grand Budapest Hotel; Oliver; The Dark Knight | Aspect ratio |

Jumping Out of Windows (stunts) | measuring, multiplication, division, and remainders | |

Math in the Film Industry | trigonometry, algebra, integral calculus, subdivision surfaces, division, geometry, and harmonic coordinates | |

How One Visual Effects Director Uses Math | Harry Potter, Sweeny Todd, Prince of Persia, GI Joe | fluid modeling, gravity, viscosity, voxels, density, 3D geometry |

A Math Breakdown of Cinematography of “There Will Be Blood“Related article | There Will Be Blood | Geometry |

Math Goes Movies | Jurrasic Park, Lord of the Rings | polygons, triangles, ray tracing, vectors, caustics, precomputed radiance transfer, radiosity |

Film Lighting & Math | multiplication, angles, measurements, division, skip counting | |

Geometry of Lenses (Lesson plan) | geometry, areas, ratios, and square roots | |

Math Algorithm Claims to Predict Film’s Success | algorithm | |

Pixar combines math to make its movies related video | The Incredibles Ratatouille Finding Nemo | algebra, geometry , calculus |

Pixar Sr. Scientist Explains Math of Movies related video | Cars 2, Brave, Geri’s Game | arithmetic, algebra, geometry, polygons, calculus, combinatronics, light, fluid, gases, compression algorithm, parabolas |

Ryan Kavanugh Uses Math To Make Movies | Batman, Zombieland, Charlie Wilson’s War, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Season of the Witch, The Perfect Getaway, Matrix, Waterworld, Jesse James, The Fighter, Evan Almighty, Bruce Almighty, Land of the Lost, Brothers, Somewhere in Time, Titanic | variables |

Box Office Math (lesson plan) | Calculations, measures, box plots (both modified and non-modified), histograms, and stem-and-leaf plots. | |

Independent Filmmakers Talk Math | Calculations | |

The Croods & Math | Coding, effects tools, process control, fluid dynamics, Cloud computing | |

What is the average budget for a Hollywood movie? | The Brothers McMullen, Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean |

Science Lesson Plans Using The Movies (Teach With Movies)