Integrating Pop Culture in the Classroom: Star Wars
Teachers across the globe can agree that one surefire way to motivate students is to connect with them, often by finding common ground and “speaking their language.” And what better way to do so than by bringing the subjects they’re paying attention to outside of the educational sphere directly into it?
With the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story on May 25, 2018, the time is nigh to integrate the Force into the classroom. Much can be learned from the galactic battles, relationships, territories and drama that ensue, regardless of if your audience is comprised of literary Leias, critical-thinking C-3POs, scientific Skywalkers, or digital Darth Vaders.
Check out our sister company Participate Inc.’s compilation of Star Wars resources in the Pop Culture in the Classroom: Star Wars collection to learn about how to introduce the series into lesson plans, activities and projects, as well as to discuss strategies with other educators. As Yoda once said, “‘Do. Or do not. There is no try.’”
Gather your Jedis and your light sabers. May the Force be with you.
Star Wars and literary symbolism
- Have students discuss: Is Luke Skywalker an epic hero?
- Learn about the “Epic Hero Cycle” and determine whether Luke Skywalker’s attributes make him an epic hero.
- How does his story relate to Homer’s The Odyssey, or for younger students, Captain Underpants? What comparisons and ties can be made? Any differences?
The aerodynamics of space
- If an explosion occurs in space, is it a waste of energy?
- Would warships need to be designed as spherical crafts or could they take different, sleeker shapes? Why would something need a spherical form in space?
- Design your own warship and describe its specifications, as well as its dimensions (2D or 3D).
War and propaganda
- Learn about propaganda through Star Wars and connect it to events such as WWII.
- Have students make a propaganda poster as an exercise. This one serves as a great example!
- Discuss: What are the pros and cons of propaganda? What are additional historical examples of propaganda and what effects did they have? Can propaganda be used for good?
Life beyond earth
- Have students create their own planet and present its attributes. What does it look like and what is it known for? What lives there?
- What language is spoken and what are the inhabitants like? What do they eat and how do they live? What do they do for fun? Is there an abundance of diversity?
- Illustrate or, for older students, create the planet itself. Don’t limit creativity!
- Lead young Jedis through a Star Wars-themed yoga class, using the story to transition between stretches, or referencing pre-determined poses designated to each character.
- Add pictures of each character and each respective pose for students’ reference during the relaxing, meditative galactic session.
Create your own crawl
- Each movie in the Star Wars saga starts with a classic: the crawl. Now, it’s time for your students to make one. Have them introduce themselves, summarize their story, their best traits, or their goals and dreams. Then, hit play and share with the class.
- Sites like this one are useful for formatting.
Be sure to check out more fun ways to integrate the Force here, and stay tuned for more opportunities to bring pop culture into the classroom!