The Real Rain Man: video activity about Kim Peek

The Real Rain Man video activity offers students the opportunity to practice their listening and speaking skills. They watch a short video and answer some questions, and then discuss the content of the documentary. I came up with the idea for this activity while looking for more engaging ways to approach the chapter in the book entitled “Secrets of the mind”.

The Task 

It’s a good idea to check what your students understand by “genius” and “savant” and provide some examples before watching the video. You might want to reference the movie Rain Man to see whether your students are familiar with the plot. I sometimes show this short clip from the film to introduce the topic and get students interested.

Once you have established the topic of the class (intelligence / special skills / genius/ inexplicable secrets of the mind), it is time to watch the actual video. I’ve noticed that usually it isn’t necessary to watch it twice to answer the questions.

Although this is just the first part of a longer program, it raises a bunch of interesting questions:

a) What is the true meaning of genius?

b) How important was “sharing Kim with the world”?

c) How are intelligence and social skills linked, if at all?

d) Is there a question you would ask Kim Peek if you could?

It is important to offer some time for discussion after watching the video as students are usually impressed and intrigued with the incredible mind of Kim Peek.

Personal Experience 

My class have found this activity pretty interesting and refreshing. The video led to a pretty lively group discussion on the meaning of our intellectual potential and hidden skills.


The Real Rain Man

The Real Rain Man_key


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