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5 Insightful Movies for STEM Students to Learn Robotics

If you want to show students that learning STEM can be interesting and fun, use movies as an educational tool.

 

Nowadays you can find movies on nearly every topic, so showing insightful STEM films can open students’ eyes and encourage further discussion. Both teachers and parents can help students understand and analyze what they’ve seen, and movies can nurture students’ curiosity.

 

In this article, you can find a list of movies that help students foster interest in learning robotics. For every movie, we suggest a list of topics for discussion, in-class activities, home assignments, and MOOCs to start a conversation and reinforce topics.

 

Why we created this list? 52% of Americans believe people don’t pursue STEM degrees because of the difficulty of the subjects.

 

While most modern students find it difficult and boring to learn exact sciences, the modern labor market needs more STEM professionals. As a result, it’s important for teachers and parents to implement new science and engineering activities that can hook students into learning about a topic.

 

Use the following five movies to enrich classes & drive assignments:

 

1. Ex Machina (2014)

 

Main educational topic: The Rise of AI in the Modern World
Recommended age: 16+

 

A young programmer Caleb Smith wins the contest for a one-week visit to the home of the CEO, Nathan Bateman. Nathan has created a humanoid robot AVA with AI, and he invites Caleb to take part in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by testing AVA’s human qualities.

Discussion questions: Will robots ever control the world? Will robots ever replace the need for humans to work? What three adjectives best describe robotics AI? Do robots pose a threat to society?

 

In-class activities: Discussion club ‘Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence’

Homework:

  • Find the latest news on AI creation
  • Write down the list of fields in which AI methods are implemented
  • Write a compare and contrast essay ‘The History and Future of Robotics AI: Pros and Cons of Working in the Field’

Online courses: Intro to Artificial Intelligence

 

2. A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001)

 

Main educational topic: The Future of Human-Like Robots
Recommended age: 13+

 

One day Henry and Monica Swintons have to place their son in suspended animation, so they decide to abandon “David”, a highly-advanced robotic boy. The human mother can’t love David the way she loves her biological son, and David understands it. He hopes to become a real boy so that he can win back his mother’s love, so he goes on a long journey hoping to make his dreams come true.

Discussion questions: What is intelligence and what is the difference of human intelligence versus computer intelligence? Can robots fully replace humans? Do you think robots will ever have emotions or be able to love?

In-class activities: Create an infographic(s) comparing and contrasting robots, clones, and droids.

Homework:

  • Write an essay ‘can AI replace humans?’
  • Create a report on the latest AI robots that look and act like humans

Online courses: Minds and Machines

 

3. Spare Parts (2015)

 

Main educational topic: The Growth of Students’ Interest in Robotics
Recommended age: 13+

 

A group of four undocumented Hispanic immigrant teenagers forms an engineering club where they meet Cameron, a substitute teacher. Students don’t have experience or money, but they live a dream and put much effort into building a remote-controlled submarine for the UCSB robotics competition.

 

Discussion questions: If you had a robot, what would you like it to do? What would happen if you programmed a robot to hate?

In-class activities:

  • Discuss the main parts of a robot
  • Divide students into groups to brainstorm ‘What functions can robots perform in society’

Homework:

  • Describe the process of creating a robot in details
  • Join an engineering club to create a robot and present it as your half-semester project

Online courses: Begin Robotics

 

4. Chappie (2015)

 

Main educational topic: Human brain vs. Robotic Brain
Recommended age: 17+

 

In the nearest future, automated robots comprise the law enforcement. A worker steals one police droid, Chappie, to give it a new programming. He is a unique robot with a mind of his own. Starting off like a human child, Chappie is ‘raised’ under the opposing parentage of a band of criminal misfits and his maker, yet foraging for his own identity in the harsh world, which soon targets him for his uniqueness. He becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself.

Discussion questions: If a computer had real intelligence, should it be given the same rights and responsibilities as people? Would it be right to ever turn it off?

In-class activities: Divide students into teams to debate on the topic ‘Should people use robots to reduce the high rating of criminality’?

Homework: Write an opinion essay ‘Is it dangerous to trust robots’

Online courses: Artificial Intelligence for Robotics

 

5. I, Robot (2004)

 

Main educational topic: AI and Humankind
Recommended age: 13+

 

In 2035, robots are common assistants and workers. Chicago homicide detective Del Spooner doesn’t trust robots. One day he receives a call from the United States Robotics (USR) about a recent death of renowned robot scientist Dr. Alfred J. Laning, and Spooner begins his investigation. Little does he know that it would lead to uncovering a larger threat to humanity.

Discussion questions: What are the main differences between human intelligence and AI? What are some risks or potential dangers of AI? Do you think Artificial Intelligence also means that computers could become conscious or self-aware? Why/why not?

In-class activities: Discussion club ‘Are Robots and Artificial Intelligence Real-Life Threats to Humans and Their Jobs?’

Homework: Prepare a speech “Artificial & Machine Intelligence: Future Fact, or Fantasy?”

Online courses: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

 

Living in the digital era, modern students are interested in robotics and there are many exciting ways to encourage them to learn more about this STEM field. Watching insightful movies about robotics is a funny way to interest students in practicing robotics knowledge.

While movies can give insights on learning more about robotics AI, there are many other ways to dig into robotics knowledge:

 

The List of Books, Articles, and Videos about Robotics:

Books

Articles

Videos

8 Ways for Left-Brain Thinkers to Boost Creativity

STEM attrition is high. Believe it or not, 48% of STEM bachelors’ degree students have left the college as most science subjects are complicated.

If you have been trying to work out equations for many days and nothing happens, it’s more likely you need… creativity, not knowledge.

Here’s why:

Creativity is the most important driver of success, especially when it comes to the work environment.

No matter what your future profession is, being creative gives an ability to solve problems fast and effectively. According to the World Economic Forum, creative thinking will be one of the most important and in-demand skills by 2020.

Building an innovative mindset takes practice, and it’s a skill to be developed, so all people should do their best to become more creative.

But:

Some people are inclined to become inventive.

According to Roger Sperry’s research, there are two types of people – left-brained and right-brained – and their nature is different. In fact, he won the Nobel Prize for his split-brain research in 1981, and he was the first neuropsychologist who highlighted the hemisphere dominance.

What is the difference between left- and right-brain thinkers?

The left hemisphere is more academic, and the right one is more artistic. All in all, left-brain thinkers are logical, rational, and organized while right-brain dominance motivates creativity, imagination, and artistry.

And if you’re STEM-related, it’s more likely you’re left-brained. Luckily, Tina Seeling has proved that creativity is a renewable resource, and this skill can be taught. Although left-brain thinkers should put much effort into becoming creative, it’s an achievable goal.

NB: You can take hemispheric dominance test to determine which hemisphere is your dominant.

So, here comes the good news for all left-brain thinkers:

According to the Effectiveness of Creativity Training, all people are able to unlock their inner creative spirit by applying creative thinking processes.

“Creativity is no more processed in the right hemisphere than the left.”

Dr. Jeff Anderson

Any proof needed?

Father of modern physics Albert Einstein was a typical left-brained person. The greatest scientist in the history of humankind, he made the most significant scientific discoveries such as a theory of relativity, discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, and the concept of mass-energy equivalence.

Yes, he was a true man of science.

However, he highlighted that the true sign of intelligence was not knowledge but imagination.

Being a creative STEM student pays off over the long haul. If you’re still hesitating whether left-brain thinkers need creativity, pay attention to the list of reasons why it’s so important. Creativity helps to:

  • provoke divergent thinking
  • think outside the box
  • invent something new
  • find original solutions
  • increase focus
  • avoid stress
  • take risks
  • promote innovation

So, wouldn’t it be great if you could become more creative?

Are you ready to become more innovative? It’s time to understand powerful ways for left-brain thinkers to boost creativity.

 

1. Do Experiments

Left-brained people opt for scientific methods, statistics and data, but adding creativity allows them to think outside the box which causes innovation.

“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”

― Albert Einstein

And here’s where neuroplasticity helps. Our brain goes through a building neural connections which mean generating new ideas. Once you gain a new experience, the process starts up. Thus, promoting brain functioning is a surefire way to become creative. The more you experiment, the better. Experimenting means you’re not afraid of failures, so you can discover something new with the help of your ability to create.

Tip: When you have a problem, try to make as many solutions as you can (3-4 options as a minimum).

 

2. Collaborate with a Team

Psychological Science claims that sharing knowledge and experience has a social cost as people are able to make up the best solution to any problem. Collaboration increases diversity, so you’re able to boost creativity: the more options you have, the more insights you get.

Analyzing various possible solutions allows people to generate creative ideas and, therefore, promote divergent thinking. One of the best group creativity techniques is brainstorming that was popularized by Alex Osborn in 1953. Brainstorming helps to develop ideas that can be improved from different angles. Plus, working in a team, people can give improvisation a try as it’s proven that improvisers produce 25% more creative ideas.

Thus, working in groups is a great way for left-brain thinkers to become more creative.

Tip: Establish relationships with friends/colleagues/relatives to initiate group work. For example, you can organize a weekly family meeting to discuss main problems and find out the best solutions.

 

3. Solve Quizzes & Puzzles

Yes, entertainment can become a part of your self-growth process. Believe it or not, quizzes and puzzles make people think faster and use passive knowledge. Solving puzzles allows people to train brain which means stimulating creative thinking.

Being concentrated on completing a puzzle, you start looking for alternative ways to succeed. Eventually, practice helps to make up creative ideas faster.

Tip: Install apps like Crossword Quiz to make the most out of your free time and improve imagination wherever you are.

 

4. Broaden Knowledge

Broadening knowledge, people enhance their ability to innovate. Creative people draw inspiration from different resources, so their ability to observe plays a significant role when it comes to boosting creativity. Moreover, learning something new daily is a way to find fresh resources and ideas.

“Ironically one’s scientific obsolescence is a direct result of the creativity of his peers.”

— George A. Bartholomew

Once you stop broadening knowledge, you stop thinking critically. Therefore, you can’t stay creative when needed.

Tip: Learn something new daily by reading one professional article a day.

 

5. Take up a Creative Hobby

Being interested in something leads to self-growth. The more you know, the more you grow, and it affects your well-being. Make time for a creative hobby as its payoff is huge.

No matter what art type you choose, whether painting, photography, or music, you can find a hobby to master your skills. Not only can you have fun, but also improve fresh thinking. Crafting awakens creative talents, and you start thinking out of the ordinary.

Tip: If you don’t have time for attending courses, do something creative at home (painting, baking, sewing, etc.).

 

6. Learn from Other People

“You always have to keep pushing to innovate.”

— Steve Jobs

While you’re trying to come up with another creative idea, pay attention to other people who succeed. Learning from someone’s experience can give you more ideas and insights, so you become more prolific. After all, collective intelligence offers a great variety of options, and sharpening the best ones helps to think creatively.

Tip: Follow people who inspire you on social media to keep up with their latest news.

 

7. Read

The more you read, the more creative you become.

Reading improves imagination, so it helps to create. According to the research, an active engagement of the imagination stimulates creativity. Writer at Inc.com Anna Hensel published an article where she had listed books for left-brain people to boost creativity.

Tip: No matter what literature you like, pick up a favorite book and read 20 pages a day.

 

8. Procrastinate

Just imagine: everybody puts off duties from time to time, and 1 out of 5 people are chronic procrastinators.

But we have good news for you: scientists claim that procrastination stimulates innovative approach to work.

Delaying to the last minute helps to generate more creative ideas. Professor Adam Grant, the author of the book Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World, has found out that first ideas are often common while procrastination leads to more innovative thinking.

If you feel tired, don’t blame yourself: procrastinate a bit and be ready for the creativity boost.

Tip: Take a break when you’re tired and try to write down all ideas that come to your mind after it.

 

In a Word

Some people are more creative than others, but every person can improve this skill to some degree. Even if you’re a left-brain thinker, stimulating creativity can be your cup of it. If you improve the ability to think outside the box, you can stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Key Takeaways:

  • Creative thinking is in demand.
  • Creativity can be cultivated, and left-brain thinkers can master it.
  • Practice is a key to creativity boost.

So, are you ready to become more creative?

How STEM Education Brings You Sky-High [8 Billionaires Approve]

Congratulations!

It’s high school graduation! You’ve spent countless hours studying hard in school, and it’s the right time to leave it all behind…

The question is: what’s next?

You’re about to start a new chapter in your life, so you’d better think about developing skills that will enhance the chances of being employed in the future.

While some school graduates think that they can do without a college degree, around 69.7% of youth enroll in colleges or universities. At this point, matriculates make fateful decisions.

When you’re 16/17/18-year-old, it costs a lot of effort to choose a subject area and understand why you need to hit the books without respite while studying in a college.

How do students choose a major field of study?

When it comes to choosing a major field of study, parents put pressure on their offspring even without knowing that. As they want to help children make the right choice, parents often think about the future as the educational process is a career preparation. However, selecting a major field should be based on personal interest first as it’s an actionable way to keep a student engaged in learning.

The core principles behind finding a perfect career path:

  • The prestige ranking of the field;
  • Career opportunities knowledge gives;
  • Student’s interest in the niche.

Obviously, choosing a major field of study, enrollees play their last card with the hope to succeed. Although many reasons play a role in picking out the field, it’s important to understand what opportunities you can get with obtained knowledge after the graduation, and there is a proof that STEM education can be an appealing option for you.

So, why consider STEM education expedient?

  • It helps to feel valued: 50% of economic growth in the past 50 years was due to advances in technology;
  • It gives propitious career opportunities: 69% of graduate employers say there is a lack of available graduates;
  • It allows you to be better off: 29% more earnings are waiting for STEM workers.

The above-mentioned stats prove that STEM education can bring you sky-high.

While you’re rolling up your sleeves, pay attention to a handy infographic where you can find the career opportunities STEM education gives you, and a list of famous billionaires who approve it.

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“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”

Milton Berle

Don’t be upset if you haven’t inherited the wealth as you can still build it from nothing. The only thing you should learn is that desire drives us when it comes to achieving success.

So, what can we learn from the above-mentioned billionaires?

1. Be stubborn

Learning STEM subjects is hard, but you can put effort into it and never give up as it’s the best way to achieve success

• “We will go forward… we will never go back.”

Michael Bloomberg

• “Always deliver more than expected.”

Larry Page

• “I feel there’s an existential angst among young people. I didn’t have that. They see enormous mountains, where I only saw one little hill to climb.”

Sergey Brin

2. Failures are lessons

Everyone makes mistakes in a lifetime, but don’t regret about them. It’s a way to learn something valuable and become a better person.

• “If you decide that you’re going to do only the things you know are going to work, you’re going to leave a lot of opportunity on the table.”

Jeff Bezos

• “If you never failed, then you’re probably not doing very much.”

Charles Koch

• “Life is too short to spend your time avoiding failure.”

Michael Bloomberg

3. Think long-term

If you’re hesitating whether enroll in a STEM program or not, think about career opportunities it can give you. Knowledge is power.

• “Another thing that I would recommend to people is that they always take a long-term point of view.”

Jeff Bezos

4. Do what you love

Only if you do what you love, you can achieve success.

• “To be happy you have to fulfill your nature.”

Charles Koch

• “You never lose a dream, it just incubates as a hobby.”

Larry Page

5. Experiment

The more you try, the more you get. Plus, doing something crazy is a way to find out new opportunities.

• “The only way you improve is to try new things.”

Charles Koch

• “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things”

Larry Page

6. Be yourself

If you’re in love with science, that’s great. You’re not a brainiac; you’re just who you are, and it’s awesome!

• “I don’t know why you should be proud of something. It doesn’t make you any better or worse. You are what you are.”

Michael Bloomberg

• “It’s always great when you get a lot of people pushing themselves to do better, be better, invent better, better serve, better lead customers in new directions.”

Steve Ballmer

• “I wasn’t the fastest guy in the world. I wouldn’t have done well in an Olympiad or a math contest. But I like to ponder. And pondering things, just sort of thinking about it and thinking about it, turns out to be a pretty good approach.”

James Simons

Learning from people who succeed is a surefire way to get motivated and avoid making common mistakes. The above-mentioned billionaires approve that STEM education is worth obtaining.

The world of numbers and formulas can be fascinating even though it may be hard for understanding at first blush. The best things about getting STEM education? It makes you a well-rounded person and brings you sky-high as it gives a dozen of career opportunities.

So, are you ready to give it a try? 😉