It’s hard work being a role model

It is even harder work being an effective role model. But, if you don’t go read the full article post at Boundary Vision, you won’t get to find out that our DJ, Marie-Claire, is more than just impeccable musical taste:

Real personal doubts can make it easy to dismiss potential models as special: “I could never do that. Even though he comes from the same neighbourhood and background, he’s obviously smarter/better/luckier/more hard working.” Role models that seem too successful or too perfect are difficult to relate to even if they’ve taken a difficult road to reach their success.

…but is it science?

Granted, this kid seems creative & entrepreneurial – the next generation of Maker; but why is building a marshmallow cannon science? I can think of a number of ways building and testing a marshmallow cannon could illustrate the scientific method. Successfully constructing a marshmallow cannon, however, is an engineering challenge – very suitable for a Maker Faire, but why is this a top Science Fair project?

In fairness to the marshmallow cannon, descriptions of the award-winning projects all sound like engineering or invention projects rather than exercises in the scientific method. I like gadgets and inventions, but is it small wonder that we are a scientifically illiterate society when even our Science Fairs don’t know what science is?

Trivial Pursuits

In the 20 January 2012 edition of Science Magazine, editor-in-chief Bruce Alberts makes a strong argument that science education should not be about the “facts” of science or the false god of “rigor”:

Trivial Pursuit is of course merely a game; but it reminded me of the much more serious battle. . .for my grandchildren, “science” includes being able to regurgitate the names of parts of the cell in 7th grade. . .Although rigor might appear to be a worthy goal. . .they are taught with an overly strict attention to rules, procedure, and rote memorization. . .for far too many, science seems a game of recalling boring, incomprehensible facts. Continue reading “Trivial Pursuits”