Harkins SMF: Escape From Planet Earth

The first movie for Harkins Summer Movie Fun is Escape From Planet Earth. It’s a pretty generic kids movie without much depth. That doesn’t, however, mean it can’t be used as a springboard for summer learning. To come up with activities that allow you use the film to keep the learning going, you need to first look at the themes of the movie and the contexts of the film.

Themes:

Family/Community

Scorch sees himself as the pivotal, indispensible hero when, in fact, he is a part of a larger community (family) that allows him to succeed.

Good vs Evil

Scortch and Gary work together to overcome the evil General Shanker.

Historical Context

December 1968 saw the launch of Apollo 8, the first manned space mission to orbit the moon, from NASA’s massive launch facility on Merritt Island, near Cape Canaveral, Florida. On July 16, 1969, U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the Apollo 11 space mission, the first lunar landing attempt. After landing successfully on July 20, Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon’s surface; he famously called the moment “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Contemporary Context

Private industry has now entered the space race. In 2005, Virgin Galactic and the New Mexico entered into an agreement see the building of a state funded space port; the first of its kind in the world.  Virgin Galactic will establish its headquarters and operate its commercial space flights from this location. On August 6, 2012 the Curiosity Rover landed safely on Mars ushering in a new era of space exploration that could provide new insights into the Red Planet.  The growth of space exploration both public and private has somewhat renewed popular fascination with space.

So what are a some things you might do with this movie?

  1. Visit the Challenger Center and learn about the history of American Space Exploration.
  2. Learn about the growing industry of private space exploration
  3. Check out the Cross Curricular Integration Ideas in the Escape From Planet Earth Teacher Media Guide

 

 

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