Teaching Students About the Gravity Movie: A Creative Approach to Young Minds


The movie Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuaron, is a visually stunning and thrilling film that not only entertains viewers but also presents a great educational opportunity for teaching various aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in the classroom. In this article, we will explore the elements of Gravity that educators can use to teach students about scientific concepts as well as critical thinking skills while maintaining their interest and engagement.

Using Scenes from Gravity to Teach

Understanding gravity and its effects on celestial bodies: The movie presents a fantastic opportunity to discuss the concept of gravity and related terms such as gravitational force, orbital mechanics, and escape velocity. Teachers can explain how the Earth’s gravity keeps astronauts on their paths around the Earth, known as orbits.

Space debris and its potential hazards: Students can learn about space debris and become aware of its potential hazards mentioned in the movie. In-class discussions can revolve around different types of space debris, their origins, and the challenges they pose for satellites and space missions.

Engineering challenges in low-earth orbit (LEO): Teachers can utilize Gravity’s lifelike portrayal of spacecraft designs to teach about common materials used for construction in LEO. They can highlight challenges encountered by engineers when developing technology that must endure extreme environments like space.

Conservation of momentum while using a fire extinguisher in space: When Sandra Bullock’s character uses a fire extinguisher to propel herself toward another spacecraft, it serves as an excellent example of conservation laws at play – Newton’s third law specifically – as action produces an equal opposite reaction allowing her to move across space.

Human physiology in space: Students can also learn about human physiology when exposed to harsh conditions in a vacuumed environment like space. Teachers can discuss issues like decompression sickness (the bends), exposure to unfiltered solar radiation, and muscle atrophy.

Discussion and Debates

Evaluating scientific accuracy in movies: Have students research and evaluate the scientific accuracy of different scenarios presented in the movie (e.g., untethered spacewalks, orbital mechanics, etc.). This promotes critical thinking skills and teaches them to question the authenticity of information they encounter in films.

Ethical dilemma: Teachers can use George Clooney’s character’s decision to drift away from Bullock as a platform for students to discuss ethical and moral choices within high-stakes situations like space missions.

Disaster management in space: Using Gravity as a case study, teachers can invite students to think about response strategies for mishaps during space missions or collisions with debris.


Using Gravity as a teaching tool offers a unique opportunity for educators to inspire interest in STEM subjects, particularly space science, astronomy, and engineering. By integrating scenes from the movie into classroom discussions or conducting interactive activities around concepts displayed in Gravity, teachers can create immersive learning experiences that stimulate students’ curiosity and bring the fascinating field of space exploration to life.

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