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WIE Documentary

Engineering Documentary Plans to Make Big Impact in Schools


The IMAX documentary “Dream Big” achieves the important purpose of making engineering appealing and cool. The producers wanted to inspire those who might not otherwise consider careers in engineering.

The goal of the filmmakers is to show the film on DVD in every school throughout the United States via a large outreach program. The program will also include engineering lessons and activities to help students further their learning and curiosity.

The program is targeted for students in third through seventh grades but will also appeal to high schoolers due to the robotics competition and solar car challenge in the film. The film also highlights various engineering marvels such as the Great Wall and other challenging structures from all around the globe.

“The American Society of Civil Engineers came to us and said, ‘We have a problem,’” explains Shaun MacGillivray, an executive producer and president of MacGillivray Freeman, the studio behind the film. “They said, ‘There’s a lack of engineers, and we especially need to inspire more minorities and women.’”

While the DVD has been sent to 75,000 schools, the goal is to have a DVD sent to an additional 25,000 schools by early July. The producers have also partnered with ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) to begin an adopt-a-school program where organizations could adopt a school and purchase the DVD for them for $5.

As the program has begun to roll out, the results have spoken for themselves. Surveys showed that 72% of students who watched the film said they were more likely to become an engineer after viewing the film. “I think what made kids super excited about it was the emotional storytelling. It’s the fact that they got inspired, they connected with the characters, and I think many of them could see themselves doing that, whether that was because the actual characters like Menzer Pelivan or Avery Bang, doing just amazing, cool stuff around the world,” MacGillvray said.

Along with inspiring students to pursue engineering, the producers and sponsors hope to make the process of making engineering and science connections simpler for teachers by including engaging activities.

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