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Special Effects -- Titanic and Beyond

Ideas from Teachers

(Gr. 6)
There is no official place in my curriculum for this material, but I'm going to make room in the schedule for NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program. I would show the program in its entirety, probably taking a few periods. I like the "Putting It Into Perspective" printable activity, too. The discussion of perspective and how our eyes and brains interpret things is very interesting, and I know my students love to work with visual illusions. An important lesson can be had about don't always believe what your eyes see. I can see giving students a chance to create their own special effects using computers and video.

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Daniel Reidy
Moultonborough Central School
Moultonborough, NH

(Gr. 7)
I would show NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program in its entirety and focus upon the way in which we view the world, and the way in which advertisers would have us view the world. To help students learn to view the world with a critical eye, and to view all with presented to us by advertisements and media with a discerning point of view.

The printable activity, Putting It into Perspective, is especially appropriate, and would be appealing to the age group I teach.

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Michael Lenz
Bandera Independent Public School
Bandera, TX

(Gr. 8)
I will be team teaching one day a week with the math teacher on my team and we will definitely use NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program to show a strong math/science link. After viewing the program, I'll bring in the science stuff and then I'll have the math teacher do some scaled drawings with our students and then we'll go outside on the stadium parking lot and do scaled drawings of dinosaurs or something really large (like whales).

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Kathy Hill
Lovejoy Middle School
Lovejoy, GA

(Gr. 8)
What a great introduction this would make to a school year, or to an integrated lesson on changes. While the old movies used a moving background, and even cartoons repeated the background in a chase sequence, the computer gives the ability to do all this and more. Software available to most students can allow them to make their own movies or just completely change what is in the picture. There are several ways you could use NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program:

  • Many students have a wide collection of videos at home. Why not ask them to bring in a tape with their favorite sequence that they suspect was done with special effects?

  • Visit the local television station or cable public access station and experiment with blue-screen backgrounds. It is a simple but effective special effect—combined with the right video, students can be flying.

  • For schools with video cameras and computer labs, students might want to try their hand at QuickTime Virtual Reality, making panoramas from strips of individually taken pictures.

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Dale Rosene
Marshall Middle School
Marshall, MI

(Gr. 9-12)
I use NOVA's "Special Effects: Titanic and Beyond" program and (will in the future) the Putting It into Perspective printable activity during a unit on the Nervous System and the Senses in an Anatomy and Physiology class.

Students study the brain, the eye, and how the brain interprets messages from the eye. I distribute a number of optical illusions and special effects, and have students try them on each other. We talk about the uses of optical illusions and special effects. I then show the program.

Next year I will at this point use the Putting It into Perspective printable activity. The unit culminates by having students create their own optical illusions or special effects projects in whatever medium they choose. The projects are then displayed for everyone's enjoyment.

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Rosemarie G. Wilson
Ella T. Grasso Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School
Groton, CT

(Gr. 9-12)
NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program would go well with a nervous system unit. I use information about the way our eyes and brain function with their structure. It would also be great to invite some artists into the classroom to teach shadows. Scientists need to be observant and that would be a great way to show kids how to look beyond the obvious.

Also, a theme in our science curriculum is science, technology, and society. Students need to see in action all of the uses of technology and science. When I taught junior high I did an invention fair. This would be a great attention grabber to start this project. High school students could also try to create a special effect with a home video to show other students.

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Suzanne Asaturian
Carbondale Community High School
Carbondale, IL

(Gr. 10-12)
The "Flubber" sequence in NOVA's "Special Effects—Titanic and Beyond" program fits in well with teaching solutions, colloids, and materials science in chemistry.

I will use this with the art teacher to introduce some science into the study of reflected, refracted, and absorbed light waves. I think this is also a good program for testing the kid powers of observation. It is my practice to have kids view a clip for about three minutes and then journal about what they remember. I want their observational skills to get better with practice so that they are able to focus and observe phenomenon more effectively. I will use some of the "Titanic" scenes for this; particularly the part that features green-screen technology.

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Shannon C'de Baca
Thomas Jefferson High School
Council Bluffs, IA

Teacher's Guide
Special Effects -- Titanic and Beyond