Put some movie wow! in your chemistry teaching

Christopher A. Frey, Marjorie L. Mikasen, Mark A. Griep

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Movies and movie clips have been used by many instructors to teach chemistry. Entire movies based on true chemical stories are used because they provide students with a common experience after which instructors can launch writing lessons about the chemistry, the scientists, or engineers, or even postscripts to the story presented in the film. In contrast, movie clips are used to animate a chemical topic during lecture in a way that grabs student attention. This gives students a strong anchor upon which they can contextualize the rest of the lesson. To find the most pedagogically useful clips, we formulated a hypothesis that clips with popular actors, incredible sets, memorable dialog, and special chemical effects would be the most useful for instruction because they would have the strongest anchoring capacity. That is, clips with more Wow! should be more useful for teaching and learning. The results of our study establish a set of criteria for choosing clips from feature films that chemistry instructors can use to grab the student attention and maximize learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1143
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 14 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Education

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