Engineering has molded our history and will be crucial in shaping our future. The development of our global society is contingent upon how well we design and invent. Engineers are vital members of our community, and their talents are in high demand across different sectors. Considerable progress has been made in the last two decades to pique interest in engineering, especially among the youth, yet there is still a lot of work to do. 

To spark the interest of tomorrow’s engineers, educators must find a method to make engineering more enticing and accessible to students all around the world. And the documentary, Dream Big: Engineering Our World aims to inspire the youth, informs the public about the important work engineers do and changes perceptions about the profession.

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The poster of the movie ©formfindinglab.wordpress.com

Dream Big: Engineering Our World is MacGillivray Freeman Films’ first IMAX documentary oriented on STEM and, more specifically, the importance of engineering. It is produced in partnership with the American Society of Civil Engineers and is presented by Bechtel Corporation. Clocking in at just 42 minutes, this documentary is narrated by the famous academy award winner, Jeff Bridges. The film explores engineering’s historical, contemporary, and future significance by highlighting notable engineers from many fields, emphasizing women. Viewers will learn about cutting-edge engineering technologies that enhance and improve our daily lives.

The documentary features the stories of three fascinating women engineers from diverse backgrounds and each of them fits as a wonderful role model. Menzer Pehlivan, a Turkish-American who became an engineer after an earthquake in Turkey changed her life and specializes in building earthquake-proof structures. Avery Bang is the founder of Bridges to Prosperity, a nonprofit organization that builds bridges in developing countries. 

The bridges are simple rope and wood footbridges that provide enormous opportunities for local communities, such as the ability to attend school or transport supplies across bodies of water. Then there’s Angelica Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant who discovered her passion for engineering through the robotics club at Carl Hayden High School. These stories depict that their paths to engineering and their work may all be different, but their experiences are all equally compelling and empowering. 

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A still from the film- Menzer Pehlivan at work ©jacobs.com

Among the stories, ‘Dream Big’ paints an engaging portrait of people seeking answers to current and future questions, such as how to build a bridge over a Haitian river that kills dozens of locals every year, or how to keep a stratospheric Taiwanese residential tower from collapsing due to typhoon-grade winds. There are certain instances in the documentary that demonstrate how engineering is not simple math and science; it is also about ingenuity. For example, the film starts to focus on the legendary Carl Hayden high school underwater robotics team as a team of high-schoolers that compete and win against MIT hotshots at an underwater robotics competition. There is also an amusing snippet about a small Mississippi high school that sent a team to compete in an Australian solar car race. 

Though the team created the car for a fraction of the cost of the other competitors, the students’ mere presence at the competition is still a remarkable achievement. These two stories alone will inspire students to join their school’s robotics or engineering clubs. 

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Solar race car built by the Mississippi high school kids ©netflix.com
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Carl Hayden High School Underwater Robotics Team ©Cinemasiren.com

The film also features a few clever innovations from engineers worldwide, such as the Falkirk Wheel, a revolving boat lift in Scotland, and innovative proposals, such as the Hyperloop, proposed by a group of young engineers who want to revolutionize transportation. Throughout the film, there are snippets of children making fun and easy engineering models in their classrooms as a part of their curriculum. This shows how beneficial the integration of STEM education in schools can be. 

Dream Big delivers a powerful punch for such a short film and is an encouraging illustration of why we need to invest in STEM education, particularly for girls.

Children making engineering models ©engineersaustralia.org.au

Director Greg MacGillivray views engineering as a noble and enhancing endeavor that benefits both those who practice it plus the planet at large. From Australia to Haiti, China to France, this film delves into the remarkable design of our most treasured civil wonders to better comprehend their purpose and function, as well as their ability to resist the test of time. The film is also basically about artistry with MacGillivray’s consistently striking visuals to reaffirm technology’s ability to push limits, open eyes to new vistas, and inspire others to embrace and pursue inconceivable aspirations. Hence, the director explores the human creativity behind both big and small engineering wonders, revealing the heart that inspires engineers to improve people’s lives throughout the world.

Dream big has tons of elements and heartstrings are pulled at in a few scenes. The film portrays people who create, design, invent, and construct as trailblazers who use their imagination to improve the human experience. The writers have skillfully woven together diverse topics into a single short documentary. It’s the kind of awe-inspiring educational film that any parent will want to show their children — and, more than likely, will want to see themselves.

References

Anon, (n.d.). Dream Big: Engineering Our World – A Heartfelt Story of Human Ingenuity Now Playing In IMAX® and Giant Screen Theatres. [online] Available at: https://dreambigfilm.com/ [Accessed 10 Sep. 2021].

HuffPost UK. (2013). The Importance of Science and Engineering Education to Our Society Is Ever-Growing. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/david-willetts/science-engineering-education-david-willetts_b_2884223.html [Accessed 10 Sep. 2021].

https://www.discovere.org/sites/default/files/Dream%20Big%20Educator%20Guide%20051018_0.pdf

Author

Vaishnavi Patil is a vivacious individual who loves good wordplay. She is an architecture student with a proclivity for writing and has a keen interest in the art of minimalism. She believes that one should empower one's solid writing skills which will ensure their designs to be more successful.

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