Kate Gramling, LinkEngineering posted a question on "Community Canvass"

PostedThursday, November 19, 2015 at 10:00 AM

What scene from a movie or TV program has made you think about engineering or the engineering design process?

 

Movies and television programs influence the ideas and opinions people develop about professions - particularly young people with little or no personal experience or role models to compare with what they see on various screens. This reality was the motivation for the recently completed "Next MacGyver" contest.

Before we can build on good ideas students have developed about engineering - or replace the bad ones - we should consider how it and engineering design are portrayed on TV and in the movies. What are the qualities of engineering that are celebrated? What stereotypes do we need to address?

We'd like to know what movies or TV shows you think did at particularly good - or particularly bad - job of presenting engineering. These could be scenes you love or ones that made you grind your teeth. We want to hear from everyone, so if someone has already mentioned the scene you thought of, please tell us why it made an impression on you.

4 Answers
  • Posted Tuesday, September 4, 2018 at 3:40 PM

    The first thing that popped into my head when I read this question was the movie "The Martian." What stood out to me, in addition to the incredible technological solutions showcased, was the perseverance exhibited by the main character - that is such an enormous component of engineering design. After seeing the film one also has to wonder what's "real" and what's not, and this enlightening article from NASA came out just prior to the movie's premier: Nine Real NASA Technologies: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nine-real-nasa-technologies-in-the-martian 

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  • Pius Wong , Pios Labs
    Posted Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 11:47 AM
    This is a late answer, but we discussed this for our latest podcast episode: http://www.k12engineering.net/transcripts/ep35.html
    
    For our conversation, we were two engineers working in education and a science teacher working in educational leadership.  We ended up talking about a whole list of media, some of which included "Star Trek," "Hidden Figures," "Interstellar," "The Imitation Game," "MacGyver" (funny to talk about this a few years after the original post), and many more.  Robots, underdogs, ingenuity, and tech all were part of the discussion.  Sounds like this is a topic that could go on much longer than the half-hour we gave it.
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  • Lynn Farrin , Maine Mathematics & Science Alliance
    Posted Friday, December 4, 2015 at 2:45 PM
    The first thing that popped into my head when I read this question was the movie "The Martian." What stood out to me, in addition to the incredible technological solutions showcased, was the perseverance exhibited by the main character - that is such an enormous component of engineering design. After seeing the film one also has to wonder what's "real" and what's not, and this enlightening article from NASA came out just prior to the movie's premier: Nine Real NASA Technologies: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nine-real-nasa-technologies-in-the-martian 
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  • Pat Gramling , PictureBookWoman.com
    Posted Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 8:36 PM
    The first scene that popped into my head was in “Apollo 13” where the engineers on the ground must figure how to put a square box in the hole made for a cylinder in order to save the lives of the astronauts. You can see a 4 minute clip of this scene on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cYzkyXp0jg.
     
    I greatly admired the calm and get-it-done attitude of the ground crew caught in a seemingly impossible situation. I was fascinated by the cooperation, focus, and creative thinking required of these engineers to solve their problem with the available materials within the time constraint. It was important to show that they also wrote specific directions for the astronauts to follow and supported them as they constructed the life-saving equipment. As far as I am concerned these men were unsung heroes of the mission.
    
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