The latest technology from Texas Instruments uses classic Hollywood themes like zombies, superheroes and space to engage students in maths and sciences. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.
If people weren't so eager to run from them or kill them, we could actually learn a fair amount from zombies.
To encourage this learning, Texas Instruments, alongside the National Academy of Sciences, is launching a new series of in-class tools and lessons for teachers called "STEM Behind Hollywood."
"We want more middle school and high school students engaged in math and science and really learning about learning it," says Melendy Lovett from Texas Instruments. "So, we took some of the hottest themes from Hollywood, and we've created classroom exercises around them. So, themes such as zombies, superheroes, space and forensics."
"Zombies" is the first to launch and has been created with the help of Harvard Medical School professor Steven Schlozman, who has studied zombies from Hollywood movies as if they were actually roaming the earth.
"If we look at them we would say, 'Hey, they're not walking well,' so there's something wrong with their cerebellum, because that provides balance," says Schlozman. "They're hungry, which is odd, because they're sick, and when you're sick, you're usually not hungry. Well, the hypothalamus is involved in telling you that you've eaten enough and that must be off or else they'd stop eating. So, you can sort of watch their behavior, and from that discern what regions of the brain aren't working right, and sort of reverse engineer your zombie back to human."
Again, if we weren't always so bent on destroying zombies in the movies, we might instead be able to help them.
"The goal of this exercise is to watch the logarithmic growth of a zombie pandemic as it spreads, which isn't that different from any pandemic as it spreads - the ones that are real and more scary - and then figure out how to interrupt it, how to slow the progression, come up with a vaccine, and eventually cure folks," says Schlozman.
For more information on "STEM Behind Hollywood," visit www.STEMHollywood.com, and for more information on other science, technology, engineering and math opportunities in your neighborhood check out our parent company Time Warner Cable's, www.ConnectAMillionMinds.com.