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September 28, 2010 AT 12:00 am

Does science education need a dose of danger?

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Does science education need a dose of danger? @ The Social – CNET News

Under the shadow of the Cold War-era Titan II and Atlas rockets set up outside the New York Hall of Science, this weekend’s World Maker Faire extravaganza was, more than anything, a tribute to the more colorful fringes of hands-on innovation, science, and engineering. And the “makers” who populated its tents and booths wanted nothing more than to get the thousands of children in attendance interested in physics, engineering, biology, and even metalwork.


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4 Comments

  1. A bit of calculated risk would probably be a boon to education. Even in my short lifetime so far I’ve seen huge changes in the way everything from playgrounds to science experiments are being made more ‘safe’. I’m 28, and many of those who work for me are in their late teens or early 20’s. I’ve asked before about their experiences in school, and it sounds pretty boring.

    Shop classes seem to be dying rapidly, due to their cost and safety issues. In my middle school we were offered Wood, Metal, and various other shop related classes. That often seems to be a rarity today.

    I recently went back home, and my parents now live about 1 block from the elementary school I went to as a child. Much of the equipment I remember is gone, replaced by toys that are colorful, but static and safe.

    Kids will make do. But by not providing them with opportunities to learn in an interesting environment, I think we wrong them.

    I really enjoyed the talk at Maker Faire about how ridiculous our perceptions of risk and danger to kids really are. Sometimes we just need to let kids be kinds. Scrapes and small cuts can be part of the learning process, and they’re often a small price to pay for exciting, interesting, memorable learning.

    (BTW, link seems to be broken)

  2. Not just science education. The real world is a dangerous place.

  3. What? No video?
    No worries.. YouTube delivers!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuxzFviCZqk

  4. I just got a 1W blue laser (the spartan from dragonlaser.com). It is dangerous, but as someone pointed out chainsaws are dangerous. So are a lot of other things. I take precautions. Given what the CDC says about STDs, not very many people do. But I think I will do something more meaningful and/or interesting with the mitigated risks I am taking.

    There is a place – terra incognita – where you don’t know the risks, but that is why they are interesting. You have to discover everything about them. Or as Chesterton said, the world is almost rational but not quite – its "wildness lies in wait", but the wait is over. There is so much I would like to probe, investigate, discover even now that would last several lifetimes, but will have to leave to others. I hope if the schools don’t improve homeschooling becomes more popular. Curiosity and creativity – or simple wonder – should thrive, not be suppressed. But curiosity is often met with pharmaceutical solutions.

    Proper science is about journeying into the terra incognita – where you don’t know the rules specifically to discover what the rules are. You already know the areas on the map.

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