November 16, 2014 | by Kimberly Fletcher
Raising Super Villains: Big Hero Becomes Big Inspiration

Most kid’s movies just inspire kids to ask for the latest movie tie-in toy. Think of how many parents had to scour stores and Halloween shops for Elsa costumers this past October? It’s rare that a movie inspires kids to take an active interest in something other than the music and toys found in the film. That was the case with Big Hero 6 – at least it was for my kids.

The film features a 14 year old robotics prodigy, Hiro Hamada and a group of super science nerds who set out to discover who has stolen Hiro’s microbots and possibly killed Hiro’s brother Tasdashi. I’m not here to rehash it for you or give a review in the traditional sense of the word, but from a parent’s point of view this film was brilliant.

gogoBoth my children were fascinated with the brief glimpse the audience sees of the science lab at San Fransokyo Institute of Technology while we are being introduced to the cast of characters. Lasers, electromagnetic wheel axle cycles, robots, and chemistry. This all amazed them and sparked their curiosity. They started asking questions about how they could go to a school like that, what else could they do, is there stuff we could do now. All things that can’t help but make a parent’s heart swoon.

To help keep the excitement alive we started talking more about robots and building them. Knowing there is a great opportunity for them to learn about robotics and programming in the near future with the arrival of Wonder Workshop‘s Dash & Dot, which will be coming for Christmas, I talked to them about LEGO. With the thought that I might even starting to work with them using MindStorms which we put away for a day when they were old enough (which they probably still have sometime to wait). Either way getting them to start thinking about engineering stuff would keep the momentum alive.

The mention of engineering excited Lex who had just taken part in a traveling field-trip program offered by the Museum of Science Boston . The program was about engineering a bridge. He explained that they listened to a story about engineering and the uses of bridges. They then broke down into groups and worked together to create their own bridge over a model stream. He talked with almost the same amount of enthusiasm as he does about MineCraft.

HOney lemonWhile Lex was fascinated about the electromagnetic wheel axle cycles and engineering robots, Loki was far more interested in the chemistry Honey Lemon used in the movie. She wanted to know how she made those balls of “gum”. This got me to thinking about how we could start looking at chemistry and keeping with the gum idea looked at Candy Experiments. Chemistry would be a perfect activity during the winter months when we will be stuck inside at time.

Whether it was chemistry or engineering it was a small step forward into the kids wanting to learn more about about the world around them outside of school. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon of sitting in the dark and just watching a movie!

Kimberly spent years as an agent for MI-5, a consultant for Fringe Division and an adviser for the Torchwood Institute in London before walking away for a quieter life. A Master of the Art of Google-Fu she now spends her days being un-extraordinary in a field of cube farms creating magic with her black-box. Kimberly settled in the Northeast region of the United States with her tinfoil hat husband, Mad Dog, to raise their family of Super Villains. With a degree in film-making, a love of photography and art she fights the evil Stepford-wife urges to become an ordinary soccer mom.

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