Summer Film/Citizen Science Pairings

Choose the perfect film to complement your citizen science project!

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science Salon
By Bob Hirshon
Jul 5, 2024 8:35 PMJul 5, 2024 8:40 PM
Drive In Movie showing The Love Bug
Whether you're interested in bugs, beetles, birds or banana slugs, there's a citizen science project for you. (Credit: Jim Culp, via Flickr Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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Drive In movies are few and far between, but the summer blockbuster lives on. In this newsletter, check out our selection of summer citizen science projects paired with the films you’ll want to watch alongside them.

Girls Night In

For the aptly named Eat Popcorn for Science project, you'll eat popcorn and watch a movie while contributing to important medical research (Credit: yousafbhutta via Pixabay)

You can contribute to scientific research by inviting your friends, or science-curious pet, to watch a movie and eat popcorn! The Eat Popcorn For Science project investigates the importance of the omentum, a poorly-understood tissue that is sometimes removed during ovarian cancer surgery. By eating popcorn and taking a series of non-invasive measurements, you’ll provide baseline data critical to this research. This project is for women only. It pairs perfectly with The Fault In Our Stars (2019), Terms of Endearment (1983), Beaches (1988), and The Doctor (1991).

Commune With Flowers

Fortunately, Project Budburst doesn't ask you to report on demanding carnivorous plants (Credit: The Little Shop of Horrors promotional material)

The quirky and oddly unsettling film “Little Shop of Horrors” (1959, remake in 1993 and musical in 2005) focused on a very demanding flower named Audrey, and an obedient florist in thrall to it. In Budburst, you’ll answer to much friendlier flowers: they merely want you to document their blossoming date in your part of the world. Not only is this much easier than feeding dental patients to a carnivorous plant, but it’s also considerably more pro-social.

Calm the Planet

Girl Scouts are working toward their climate challenge badge by learning about climate change and taking actions to protect the planet, just like the people featured in the Wild Hope documentary series.

Girl Scouts and non-Girl Scouts alike can learn about climate science, connect with their communities, and spread hope to create change. The project pairs perfectly with the documentary film series Wild Hope, featuring people all over the world working to protect and preserve the natural environment.

Protect the Planet

If you're going to enjoy watching utter planetary annihilation, the least you can do is contribute to the Daily Minor Planet near-earth object observation project and help prevent it from happening in real life (credit: Armageddon film promotional materials)

In the film Armageddon, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck save Earth from a rogue asteroid. With Daily Minor Planet, you are the hero, helping scientists at the Catalina Sky Survey scan the heavens for Near Earth Objects.

Save Earth From Creepy Aliens

Enjoy the peace (?) and quiet of A Quiet Place: Day One and then help scientists monitor and control real world alien killers with GLOBE Observer: Mosquito Habitat Mapper (credit: A Quiet Place: Day One film promotional materials)

In A Quiet Place: Day One, creepy, destructive alien creatures take over our planet, spreading misery and death. In real life, creepy, destructive alien creatures are also taking over our planet, spreading misery and death, in the form of alien mosquitoes. But with the NASA-supported GLOBE Observer: Mosquito Habitat Mapper, you can help stop them, by locating and reporting on habitats fostering disease-carrying invasive mosquitoes.

See you at the movies!

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