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 behindthescenes 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 WallE  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, thirddegree polynomials, higher frame rates, 3D, linear perspective, aerial perspective, composition, XY 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  XMen; 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 
What type of math is involved in Pixar animation?  Inside/Out  Many (see article) 
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 nonmodified), histograms, and stemandleaf 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)