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April 29, 2019

Meet the Magician Who Brings Marvel Movies to Life

By Patricia Janes

Are your students mad for Marvel movies? Use these two free articles and activities to promote STEM learning related to the new Avengers movie.

Grades 6–8, 9–12

    Key Takeaways

    • Showcase an exciting, real-world STEM career.
    • Connect popular entertainment to math and science concepts.
    • Capitalize on student excitement around the new Avengers movie to promote math and science learning.

    Are your students talking about the new Avengers movie that hit theaters last week? I have to admit that I’m not as well-versed in superheroes as many of your students are. But I was excited to learn more about the main villain, Thanos, and the superheroes that are dedicated to stopping him. That’s why I was thrilled when associate editor Jennifer Hackett got the opportunity to interview Marvel Studios’ visual-effects supervisor for Scholastic MATH and Science World. The resulting articles are so interesting that they made me want to check out the rest of the series to build my superhero knowledge!

    Please enjoy these stories about a special-effects designer on the Avengers movie and two free connected activities. I hope you and your students are as entertained and educated as I was!

    Marvel STEM Career Articles and Activities for Middle School

    The Science of Special Effects: How do filmmakers make impossible things—like a superhero soaring through the air or landing in a spaceship on an alien world—possible? They rely on people like Daniel DeLeeuw. He’s a visual-effects supervisor at Marvel Studios, the studio behind the recently released movie Avengers: Endgame. DeLeeuw uses computers to create fictional characters and worlds for some of the biggest blockbusters. Read this Science World Q&A with DeLeeuw, then extend your students’ learning with an engaging computational thinking activity. It will get them thinking about the skills required for a career in special effects.

    Making Marvel Math Connections: Visual effects are “anything you can’t actually make on set,” says DeLeeuw. The makeup and prostheses actors wear, the props they hold and the realistic set pieces they act on are all practical effects. The actors can physically wear or interact with them. Everything else, like Iron Man’s high-tech flying suit or the towering body of alien villain Thanos, must be made digitally. And that takes some serious math skills. Read this Scholastic MATH article to learn more about DeLeeuw’s work. Check out the in-article activity on doing translations on a coordinate plane, then click here for graph templates and additional activities.

    As always, I hope that our engaging articles and digital resources can help you inspire and empower your students to love STEM as much as we do. To bring Scholastic Magazines into your classroom, sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial.

    Patricia Janes is the Vice President of Scholastic’s STEM and art magazines for grades 3 through 12. She is a former teacher who loves all things STEM—as evidenced by her degrees in physics, environmental studies and math. 

    Key Takeaways

    • Showcase an exciting, real-world STEM career.
    • Connect popular entertainment to math and science concepts.
    • Capitalize on student excitement around the new Avengers movie to promote math and science learning.

    Are your students talking about the new Avengers movie that hit theaters last week? I have to admit that I’m not as well-versed in superheroes as many of your students are. But I was excited to learn more about the main villain, Thanos, and the superheroes that are dedicated to stopping him. That’s why I was thrilled when associate editor Jennifer Hackett got the opportunity to interview Marvel Studios’ visual-effects supervisor for Scholastic MATH and Science World. The resulting articles are so interesting that they made me want to check out the rest of the series to build my superhero knowledge!

    Please enjoy these stories about a special-effects designer on the Avengers movie and two free connected activities. I hope you and your students are as entertained and educated as I was!

    Marvel STEM Career Articles and Activities for Middle School

    The Science of Special Effects: How do filmmakers make impossible things—like a superhero soaring through the air or landing in a spaceship on an alien world—possible? They rely on people like Daniel DeLeeuw. He’s a visual-effects supervisor at Marvel Studios, the studio behind the recently released movie Avengers: Endgame. DeLeeuw uses computers to create fictional characters and worlds for some of the biggest blockbusters. Read this Science World Q&A with DeLeeuw, then extend your students’ learning with an engaging computational thinking activity. It will get them thinking about the skills required for a career in special effects.

    Making Marvel Math Connections: Visual effects are “anything you can’t actually make on set,” says DeLeeuw. The makeup and prostheses actors wear, the props they hold and the realistic set pieces they act on are all practical effects. The actors can physically wear or interact with them. Everything else, like Iron Man’s high-tech flying suit or the towering body of alien villain Thanos, must be made digitally. And that takes some serious math skills. Read this Scholastic MATH article to learn more about DeLeeuw’s work. Check out the in-article activity on doing translations on a coordinate plane, then click here for graph templates and additional activities.

    As always, I hope that our engaging articles and digital resources can help you inspire and empower your students to love STEM as much as we do. To bring Scholastic Magazines into your classroom, sign up for a 30-Day Free Trial.

    Patricia Janes is the Vice President of Scholastic’s STEM and art magazines for grades 3 through 12. She is a former teacher who loves all things STEM—as evidenced by her degrees in physics, environmental studies and math. 

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Susan Cheyney

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