Fluid Mechanics Education Using Japanese Anime: Examples from "Castle in the Sky" by Hayao Miyazaki - Sangjin Ryu, Haipeng Zhang, Markeya Peteranetz, and Tareq Daher
Ryu et al. were interested in looking at the potential influence of pop culture in the classroom to increase student engagement and retention of challenging materials, focusing primarily on physics. Because of this focus, they decided to look at the fantastic nature of many Japanese animations and decided to look at how a film, such as Hayao Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky", could be used to address potentially dry and difficult topics.
"Castle in the Sky" in particular has multiple examples of fluid mechanics, lending it to be a useful tool for several concepts. Using the main character as an example, Ryu et al. were able to apply important topics such as buoyancy, drag force, and terminal speed to visuals in the film. Similarly, the lift force of the main pirate ship and flowlines demonstrated by a supporting character offered unique perspectives to these materials that are difficult to achieve through standard lecturing or textbook assignments.
Ryu et al. found an overwhelmingly positive student response on all of the chosen concepts from "Castle in the Sky." By including a piece of pop culture, particularly something as familiar as animation, students were more engaged and interested in the material. Though these findings are not limited to either physics or Japanese animation. The idea of including pop culture can be expanded across disciplines and genres of media, giving instructors creative liberty to discover and apply whatever may speak to them personally in the classroom.
Ryu, S., Zhang, H., Peteranetz, M., & Daher, T. (2020). Fluid Mechanics Education Using Japanese Anime: Examples from “Castle in the Sky” by Hayao Miyazaki. The Physics Teacher, 58(4), 230–233. https://doi.org/10.1119/1.5145464