THE TIME MACHINE
SUBJECTS — Science Fiction;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Science Fiction;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — General.
AGE: 10-13; No MPAA Rating;
Drama; 1960; 103 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.
MOVIE WORKSHEETS & STUDENT HANDOUTS
TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students’ minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film.
Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM’s Movies as Literature Homework Project.
George, an inventor living in England at the turn of the 20th century, has crafted a machine that can move through time. He passes through World War I, World War II, a nuclear holocaust and thousands of years beyond to find a strange future of romance and danger. In this new world, he encounters the Eloi, a beautiful, indolent, pleasure-seeking race, and the Morlocks, mutated, hideous, industrious, and savage. This is a film version of the H.G. Wells’ classic novel.
SELECTED AWARDS & CAST
1960 Academy Awards: Best Special Effects.
Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux, Whit Bissell, Sebastian Cabot, Alan Young.
BENEFITS OF THE MOVIE
This movie can be used to give children a clear understanding about the four dimensions of length, width, depth, and time. It will start children thinking about the horror of nuclear holocaust and the type of society that might come to be in a post-nuclear holocaust future. The hero takes three books with him when he travels to the future. Children will also be intrigued to think about the question of which books he takes.
MINOR. The Morlocks are frightening and there are bloody fights with them.
Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question. Discuss with your child the risks of a nuclear war and reassure them that now the risks are low. However, there were times during the Cold War when the risks were very high. Fortunately, we have survived those times.
This film will be best appreciated by children who know something about World War I, the Battle of Britain and the threat of nuclear holocaust under which the world lived from 1949 until the end of the Cold War.
The physical world as we experience it contains four dimensions: length, width, depth and time. Time is a concept of the order and duration of events. The sun, the moon and the seasons were man’s earliest clocks. Sir Isaac Newton postulated that there was an absolute time, a separate entity which existed on its own and which could not be affected or changed in any way. This theory gives rise to the concept of absolute simultaneity, which states that if two events are seen to be simultaneous by one observer, they will be simultaneous to all observers.
Einstein in his theories of relativity postulated that as the speed of an object approaches the speed of light, time for it will slow relative to the surrounding universe. For example, if some future space traveler leaves the Earth at the speed of light and returns in ten years, he will have experienced only one year of time. Einstein saw time as intertwined with space and inseparable from it. It is, therefore, relative and not absolute.
One of the most interesting issues posed by this film is the effect on Eloi society of their dependence upon the Morlocks. See Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions below.
2. Is time properly classified as a dimension such as length, width, and depth, or is it something intrinsically different?
3. If there were to be a fifth dimension, what would it be?
4. What is a common measure that we use almost every day which involves the fourth dimension? Suggested Response: Travel in kilometers per hour.
5. What, if anything, did you find wrong with the Eloi society?
6. What difficulties do you think George would find in his effort to help the Eloi when he went back to their time?
7. Which three books would you have brought with you if you were going to stay with the Eloi in their time?
8. If you had the chance to travel forward in time, would you do it? Would you stay or just visit?
9. If you had the chance to travel backward in time, which period would you visit first? Why?
10. If our society suffered a nuclear holocaust, what do you think the society of the survivors would be like?
1. Was George’s decision to travel in time courageous or foolhardy? What is the difference between courage and foolishness?
2. Why didn’t the Eloi resist when the siren called them to enter the dark world of the Morlocks? Were they afraid?
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS (CHARACTER COUNTS)
Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.
1. What ethical principle did Eloi society lack? Give some examples from the book or the film. Suggested Response: A strong argument could be made for any of the Six Pillars.
2. Are there any of The Six Pillars of Character that Eloi society honored? Which are they?
3. Why didn’t any of the Eloi try to help when one of their friends was drowning?
ASSIGNMENTS, PROJECTS & ACTIVITIES
BRIDGES TO READING
The Time Machine is an excellent book for adolescent readers. Books that deal with time travel that are recommended for young adult readers are: The Last Day of Creation by Wolfang Jeschke (U.S. Navy sends men back 5.5 million years to pipe oil from Arabia to Europe); Special Deliverance by Clifford D. Simak (time travel to a ruined, depopulated world); Time after Time (a boy travels back in time and participates in Russian imperial intrigues just before the Russian Revolution) and Time & Space by John & Mary Gribbinn.
This Learning Guide was last updated on April 10, 2010.