Astronaut Farmer

The Astronaut Farmer (2006)


Concept featured in film: What is a scientist?

Location of clip: DVD: Chapter 11: Forget the Rocket; Start at 40 minutes 55 seconds into movie. Watch till 47 minutes.

Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: Charlie Farmer's spacecraft launch is being assessed at a hearing with members of the FAA, FBI, CIA, DOE, and the military. The panel members question Charlie's design, flight plan, and intentions to be launched into space. During the trial Charlie's wife is approached by the Department of Child Services about the mistreatment of her children. The panel members do not approve of him attempting this launch by himself because he should leave this "to the professionals" of the U.S. Space Department. Charlie gives a speech about his dream to be an astronaut and why he should be able to pursue his dream.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: This flickclip would be a way to correct the preconceptions or misconceptions of what it means to be a scientist in the sense of being an astronaut. The clip should create discussion of what is a scientist and redefine the typical old, white male in a lab coat and goggles.

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. Suggested questions/activities for students before viewing of the clip:

a. What do you think it means to be a scientist/astronaut?
b. Draw what you think a scientist looks like.
c. Put drawings up around the room and have everyone circulate through them compiling a list of common things associated with scientists (i.e. test tubes, male/female, lab coat, crazy hair, goggles, lab room, etc.)

2. Suggested discussion questions and activities for students after viewing the clip:

a. What does it mean to be a scientist/astronaut?

b. What does a typical scientist look like?

c. If Charlie Farmer can be classified as scientists then what does it mean to be a scientist by today's standards?

d. How can we overcome our preconceptions of what it means to be a scientist and how we think of science in general

3. After discussion of these previous topics have students talk about their previous experiences with scientists or how they have been scientists themselves when trying to figure something out.