Archive for April, 2011

Getting Kids Excited About Science

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

TED — a nonprofit devoted to spreading important ideas — published a 5 minute talk from Anne Marie Thomas, in which she demonstrates a super quick and amazingly simple way to build cheap, simple electrical circuits from homemade play dough. It’s terrific and — if you haven’t already taken the 5 minutes to watch it — don’t miss it.

I found it fascinating is to look at the comments. Some critics deride the message as “dumbing down TED” because it’s not scientific research or groundbreaking journalism. But considering American students consistently score behind other industrialized countries in Science and Math, maybe this is one of TED’s most important messages yet.

After all, improving kids’ science achievement won’t happen by teaching to standardized tests; it will only happen if we can foster a sense of passion and excitement for the sciences. Arming schools, teachers and families with gee-whiz demonstrations that get kids stoked for science is a great step in that direction.

I think this comment from Tobias Duncan sums up the potential power of simple ideas:

My fourth grade teacher had a box full of batteries, wires, light bulbs and electric motors. If I finished my work quickly,I was allowed to spend time with box of goodies.I have to say it was life changing.I can not overstate the impact it had on me . This is even cooler.

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