Monday, November 5, 2012

What's Your "Jurassic Park" Moment? #JPMoment

The other day I decided to put together a play list of some of my favorite movie themes. It turns out it was a "Best of John Williams" play list. While putting it together, I found the Jurassic Park theme song. That song took me back to 8th grade.

In 8th grade, my Dad gave me a book and told me I had to read it. At this point, I had no idea this was going to be a movie or what I was getting into when I picked up the book. It turned out to be one of the coolest stories I had ever read. (Note: I wasn't much of a reader in my younger years, so that doesn't carry the weight that it should for an English teacher.) As the summer approached, my Dad told me that had made the book into a movie. I was beside myself with excitement. My childhood dream of seeing dinosaurs was about to come true. (The only versions I had seen at this point were very cheesy claymation and cartoons (Remember the Dinosaucers?), so this was a big moment.)

My parents allowed me to spend the night at a friends house (first and only time that happened) so that we could go to the midnight showing to see the film. There is a moment in the film that will forever stay with me and I still get chills whenever I see it. When Dr. Grant sees the Brachiosaurus for the first time always blows me away. As a kid, it was a moment where I thought anything was possible. I was seeing dinosaurs. They were there and they were real. That moment was just inspiring to me the more I look at it.

I'm 33 now and have a wonderful son I hope to inspire and fill with the same sense of wonder when I show him Jurassic Park. I look at my lesson plans and think about my approach and how I seem to strive for a "Jurassic Park" moment when creating them. I want my students to have a moment in my classroom. A moment they can walk away with and remember down the road. I'm not saying every lesson has a moment for everyone, but I hope some will have that moment.

A Jurassic Park Moment - A moment when a person is filled with wonder and believes that the impossible is now possible. 

I feel a responsibility as a teacher to try and reach out to students to help them think that anything is possible and the world is still filled with wonder. Is that naive? Am I too idealistic? I hope so. If I'm not, it's probably time to get out of the Nerdy Teacher business.

Do you want to share your "Jurassic Park Moment"? Leave it in the comments.



  1. What a powerful post. My Jurassic Park moment isn't as incredible and "impossible to possible " as yours but it still means a lot to me. Years ago I was in the back seat of the family car. I couldn't have been older than 6 or 7. I was bored with the highway and wanted to be home. That's when I heard it...a low grumble in the distance that was slowly growing louder. I turned to look out the back and a saw my first motorcycle. The man on the bike was covered in a full face mask and leather riding gear, but I remember wanting to be just like that. As the biker pulled up next to us he must've saw me because he turned and looked back while he pulled up his visor. I could tell he was smiling as big as me. Now I am just about your age and have been rebuilding my first bike all since June after riding it as is for the past few years. I'll never forget that moment

  2. I love that scene, and the swell of accompanying music... I got to direct that piece in senior band and it was awesome!

    I think for my teaching, I try less for the Jurassic Park anticipation moments, and more for those "eureka" points where all of a sudden a bunch of stuff we're covering comes together in a student's mind, and you can just see on their face that they've "gotten it."

  3. What a powerful moment! Seeing real live dinosaurs. Teachers do need to strive for making moments like this for students. For me it was when I was a 12 year old, my father, a pilot, allowed me to fly the plane for the first time. The pure sense of power to soar above the world was powerful for me as a young boy. I will never forget the moment. A few years later, I really learned the power of flight, by being in the plane when 'St Elmo's' fire surrounded it. Very cool moment for me. It has never been reproduced.

  4. One moment that I always go back to is lying in the grass one summer evening a seeing a shooting star/meteor come out of the sky and seemingly fly right towards me. That moment was the first time that I truly felt how big - how awesome - space is. Many years later, I am a fifth grade science teacher. My first unit: space. I spend that unit teaching my students to have a sense of wonder and amazement about the natural world. We talk about how big the universe is, how man landed on the moon with less computing power that is contained in my cell phone, and about the possibilities that may come true in their lifetimes.

    Thank you for the post - what a great way to start my day!


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