Aviator (2004)


Concept featured in film: Relative Motion

Location of clip:

Play Flickclip Here

** Beware of foul language used by Howard Hughes; mainly GD and SOB.

Summary of clip: Howard Hughes (Leo DiCaprio) is producing/directing a film about WWI. He has filmed a scene of many planes in the midst of battle. As he and his colleagues review the film he is frustrated about how it does not look realistic. He realizes that the planes don't look like they are moving very quickly because there is nothing stationary behind them. He insists upon finding someone to predict the weather so that clouds will be in the background of his shot, giving the planes something stationary to fly in front of.

Connection of flickclip to the concept: Relative motion describes the motion of one object in relation to a second object. The reason that the planes did not appear to be moving very quickly is because there was not a second object to help convey the speed of the plane. An object that would have been moving slower than the plane in the same "shot" would have been helpful in showing that in relation to the slower object the plane appears to be moving extremely fast.

Suggestions to Teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. Without knowing the speed of an object how can you convey how quickly the object moves? (by relating it to other objects i.e. slower or quicker)
b. Why does Howard Hughes believe that by adding a cloud to the shot the planes would not appear as slow?
c. What would happen if Howard Hughes would have added a jet plane to the shot instead of a cloud? (The original planes would appear to be going slower since the jet plane is moving faster)

2. Have the students use different ways of showing relative motion.  For instance one student would stand still while another walks very slowly past and yet another walks more quickly next to him.  Discuss the speed of each student and what the different frames of reference are in each scenario. Discuss situations such as throwing objects from moving vehicles. Have them think of other ways that relative motion affects them on a daily basis.

3. Have the students use video cameras to capture different objects in motion using relative motion.  Have them create films based on the movement of a certain object.  Have them create the films in a way in which they can teach younger students the concept of relative motion.

4. Use the lesson on relative motion from Science Netlinks that explains the relative motion of the Earth using a pendulum: http://www.sciencenetlinks.com/lessons.cfm?BenchmarkID=4&DocID=180