NonFiSci’s Film Fix – Rebecca Low

This Innovative Learning Week, the Non Fiction Science Society attempted to set about “righting the scientific wrongs in famous blockbuster films” – all in the space of eight hours or so. Quite a task, you might think, but when I arrived at InSpace, the two teams of budding film makers were avidly clicking away at their computers, putting the finishing touches to their respective projects. Having chosen a Hollywood movie, each group set about picking apart any significant scientific holes they could find and then re-filming segments of the movie in order to improve their scientific accuracy. As a result, we were treated to an examination of the plausibility of Marty McFly’s time travelling exploits in ‘Back to the Future: The Corrected Version’, before watching the ‘Ghostbusters’ Marshmallow Man collapse under his own weight, an eventuality which Dr. Venkman and his fellow Ghostbusters evidently failed to recognise.

Taking place over the course of one day, the NonFiSci Society’s Making Movies event encourages students to work independently and take the lead. “The idea is to show us what you can do,” said Steve Earl, one of the Society’s founding members, who organised the event. “We wanted to push the students and test their ability to learn, rather than their ability to process information.” So much so that students were simply handed cameras, props and a movie-making computer programme and left to their own devices, with what turned out to be well-executed and imaginative results.

It’s a project which the Society hope to expand upon and hopefully implement in a secondary school environment, giving students and school pupils a more hands-on approach to learning, an aim which is integral to the whole ethos of Innovative Learning Week. The students seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves too, with the day culminating in a screening of their work. “I never imagined spending Innovative Learning Week melting marshmallows with a hairdryer!” laughed Eleanor Drinkwater, a third year Biology student, who explained how her group decided to then buy biscuits in order to eat said marshmallows with. Well, it was all in the name of science!

Rebecca Low

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