I recently came across the article “Going Rogue: The Science Behind the Star Wars Death Star“.
We all enjoy the “science” in Science Fiction, but how possible is it? Most would think that the Death Star was beyond the realm of possibility. This article explores what the energy requirements would be (massive to say the least) for this weapon and how it might be generated. It isn’t impossible, but it is mighty difficult.
The article also points out the little detail of Newton’s Laws of Motion ignored in the movies. Firing a laser (or particle beam) in one direction will create a force in the opposite direction on the object that fired the laser. Because of the immense power needed to destroy a planet (2.24 x 10^32 Joules estimated in the article for a planet similar in size to Earth) the Death Star would be propelled at high speed in the opposite direction.
Of course I guess if they can generate artificial gravity on the Death Star, then they might be able to use other technology to circumvent known physics.
This kind of a discussion, and the associated calculations, might be a great way to involve a Middle School or High School science class.