Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications

Product ID: HiMAP Pull-Out
Supplementary Print
High School

Modeling Movies Using Network Science, Part 1

Author: Garrett Dancik, Marsha Davis and Megan Heenehan


This pull-out is the first part of a two part series. In Activity 1, students are introduced to some basic definitions and concepts in network science. Students learn what a network is and are given some basic background about networks that includes the degree and weighted degree of a node, the degree distribution of a network, adjacency matrices, paths and the distance between two nodes.

In Activity 2, students apply what they have learned from the first activity to a network based on the characters in Marvel's The Avengers (2012). In order to tease out which characters are most important, or most central, to the network, students use degree centrality and weighted degree centrality. After some introductory background, Activity 2 splits into two versions, A and B. In Version 2A, students analyze The Avengers network using Gephi, open source, free software for drawing and analyzing networks. In Version 2B, output from Gephi is provided.

In Activity 3, students are introduced to two new measures of centrality, closeness centrality and betweenness centrality. They apply these measures to Marvel's The Avengers network to see if new characters emerge as important to the network. As with Activity 2, Activity 3 splits into two versions. In Version 3A, students use Gephi for the analysis and in Version 3B, output from Gephi is provided.

In order to create a network from a movie script, data must be extracted from the script and organized into an edge list. Activity 4 introduces students to coding concepts required to extract the data and create the edge list, which students could import into Gephi for use in Activities 2 and 3.

Click here to download the file Avengers.gexf

©2019 by COMAP, Inc.
Consortium 117
29 pages

Mathematics Topics:

  • Discrete & Finite Mathematics ,
  • Graph Theory

Application Areas:

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Related Resources

Modeling Movies Using Network Science, Part 2

This pull-out is the second part of a two-part series. The expectation is that students have completed the activities...

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