Star Wars, Teaching Kids About Science and Stuff

“Hang on a second, did I just read that right?” I bet you’re thinking. Yes fellow human, you did. Star Wars helps people to learn about science and stuff, and here’s how…

Firstly, I must say that whilst I am as crazy as the next man (if not a teeny bit more) I have not completely lost the plot and become one of those folks that tick the “other” box in the religion section of questionnaires, followed by the word “Jedi” on the dotted line where it asks you to elaborate. No I am not a Jedi, nor do I believe that any of the events of Star Wars are true, in spite of how much I wish they were. Apologies to any devout Jedi reading this, this article is simply my humble opinion as always.

Ok where was I? Ah yes, Star Wars helps kids learn about science and stuff. Now I’m not saying that teaching kids about lightsabers will help with their education, because it probably won’t. In fact things we are introduced to in the films, like ‘The Force’ will not help one bit, simply because they are part of science fiction, not real science. However the iconic ‘force’ concept of the franchise has been integrated with a new toy to help kids learn about science, and more specifically magnetism. Nice. If there’s one thing parents love, its toys that either teach their kids stuff, or ones they can ‘borrow’ and enjoy themselves. No doubt if I have kids I will be sure to buy them a lightsaber just so I can relive my youth pretending I’m a Jedi.

The new toy by the Uncle Milton toy company acts as a glove with a magnet installed in the palm, which attracts or repels metal objects depending on their polarity to give you the feeling of using the force. Pretty fun, and like I said it helps teach kids about magnetism – unless you maintain the illusion that the glove does indeed give them the power of the force (this will depend partly on the age and gullibility of your kids). As a Star Wars fan I like this idea, and it certainly offers something a little different to your standard ‘Hulk Hands’ product, which seem to achieve nothing more than an excuse for your children to hit people with their big green fists.

I’ll be honest, this argument is a little thin, but with products such as the ‘Force Glove’ being released its helping somewhat. There are of course other aspects of the films that teach things to kids, but on a more moral level. Naturally kids’ films have good guys and bad guys, much like Star Wars does, and this helps in their development of learning what is right and what is wrong. The Imperials and the ‘dark side’ are clearly portrayed as evil, and children are encouraged to support the ‘light side’, which fight against oppression. Again a little thin as technically both sides do a lot of fighting, so it hardly teaches them how to deal with situations in a non-violent manner. It also seems to give the colour red a bad name – what did it ever do to them?

Ok so whilst Star Wars isn’t the best example of teaching people right from wrong, you know what I was getting at and it does offer something in this respect. As far as teaching kids about science, the Force Glove is a fantastic idea and I’d like to see more educational(ish) toys like this in the future – good job Uncle Milton.

Written by Joe Topliffe
Twitter: @joetopliffe

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