When Your Science Project Opens a Wormhole
How far can a science project take you? Maybe to another dimension! That's the story in Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission, a movie from Fresh Films about a pair of orphaned sisters who use a school science project to open a wormhole to another world. Pair the movie with a hands-on classroom activity from Science Buddies (and maybe some popcorn) for an out-of-this-world day in science class.
"By Einstein's hair!" That's what you might hear your students exclaiming after watching Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission in class. Or "discovery leads to experimentation!" Or maybe they will love the moment when the teacher exclaims, "even a physics teacher can be an action hero!"
It's no secret... students enjoy watching movies in class, and they like science they can see, especially when it's all rolled up into an exciting adventure movie! With a new release from Fresh Films, teachers can tie STEM curriculum in with a fun science-project-themed movie for classroom learning that everyone will feel good about. Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission is a full-length, family-friendly movie featuring Steve Guttenberg and with guest appearances from Harry Lennix and Congressman (and physicist) Bill Foster. In Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission , two students open a wormhole with their science project that leads them to another world. Will they be able to find their parents? Follow along as the girls create a space-warping science project—with a bit of help from their physics teacher!
A Multiple Universe Science Adventure and STEM Activity
Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission puts wormholes on the big screen and takes school science projects to new dimensions that kids of all ages will enjoy. With a bit of Spy Kids-style flair, Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission pits a team of industrious students, their physics teacher, and their grandmother against the villain, Verstag.
The science in Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission centers around a wormhole (a portal of sorts) that allows the characters to move between their own world and a parallel world. To help teachers expand upon the science in the movie, Science Buddies has developed the Model of a Black Hole science activity that teachers can do with students after watching the movie. Classes can talk about the relationship between black holes and wormholes (hint: astrophysicists theorize that black holes could be the entry point for wormholes if they exist) and then do a simple activity to demonstrate the effect of a black hole. This activity makes it easier for students to understand important (but invisible) space science and astrophysics concepts that can sometimes be hard to conceptualize.
The following resources can be used to supplement and spark classroom discussions about the movie and to encourage students to learn more about related science and STEM career paths, including film production:
- The Model of a Black Hole science activity uses ordinary materials and can be completed in 10-20 minutes.
- Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission was created by more than 200 teens who worked on all aspects of the movie's production. Students can learn more about video and film careers like Film and Video Editor, Audio and Video Equipment Technician, and Sound Engineering Technician with Science Buddies' STEM career profiles.
- Observant students may notice a point in the movie where the girls try to guess their parents' password. They succeed—which shouldn't happen! This scene in the movie provides a great entryway for discussions about cybersecurity and, specifically, the importance of having good password-setting strategies. The Password Duel lesson plan helps teachers lead an in-class cybersecurity activity that features a fun password-guessing game.
- On the Alternate Universe website, teachers can find supplemental videos about the science in the movie and a lesson about wormholes, created by Mark Hammergen, an astronomer at the Alder Planetarium.
- For additional background reading, see Supermassive black holes control star formation in large galaxies. This article on the Science Daily site summarizes new research from the University of California - Santa Cruz about the role of black holes in galaxies.
Watch the Movie with Your Students
Alternate Universe: A Rescue Mission is available on DVD and Blu-Ray and via online streaming from sources like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and other digital sources. Find out more on the Alternate Universe website. Proceeds from the movie help support nonprofit Fresh Films and their teen film making programs.