Tuesday, September 19, 2006

My big idea

Man, all you really need is PBS, I think. And a dog to sit next to you. And a good bicycle or two and a copy of In Our Time. That's really it. [and of course the health and love of your family]

Tonight, I did the usual sit down with a book but had to see if I was missing anything good on tv and got caught up in this two hour Nova story about Einstein. What was so great about it is how they humanized the science behind it all by making it narrative--they go back and tell the stories about Farrady, Lavoisier, and Emilie du Chatelet, the folks to came up with the ideas that had to happen before Einstein. Narrative is where it's at. We humans can't put it down; it's simply not possible.

Why don't we do this in science and math class in school? I bet if I learned a little bit about the personalities and adventures of the minds behind the theories, I would have been riveted to the hard science of chemistry and whatever other science I took in school. Math, too. Mathemeticians are freaks. Why didn't my math teachers sell me on the freakiness of the people who came up with these ideas? Instead, it was all thrown at us as though math text books were these bibles of numbers that had been around since the beginning of time. If we'd been caught up in the drama of their creation, I bet we would have taken math more seriously, we kids.

I'm all into this idea now. A revolution in education. I will call it "narrative science." "Narrative math. " Ok, I'm tired now. I'll go sleep on this.

8 comments:

T-Seabs said...

I wished I still watched the educational AND entertaining television channels. Maybe someday when I'm not intent on drawing my way into art school and everything else, I'll buy the programs on DVD or barrow them from a library and have a marathon. I've always questioned where all of these rules and formulas came from. Pythagorean theorum? Pi? The mosted I'd get is a stuffy and sterile explaination that some dead guy drew up thr Cartisian Coordinates system. I didn't care about where a graph came from or that, what about Pi? How long did it take to figure out? Who argued it was wrong? Philosophy is great because their all dialogues and arguements against each other. No one thinks anyone else is right untill it gets down to "well that's your faith and that's it."
I mean, Stephen Hawkings makes bets with colligues for subscriptions to Penthouse or Playboy over who's hypothesis is right. While that may not be appropriate for school, it shows these are normal people that just like thinking. There's nothing wrong with that, 'cept Snoop prefers to puff a blunt.

Mr. Hill said...

I agree completely. We're drawn to dramatic action, conflict. When they are presented to us as this simple facts of life, I think science and math can be as interesting as rocks (actually, rocks are kind of interesting).

You can draw the cover of my textbooks when I get that far with them.

T-Seabs said...

I sure did pick up "Classics" it's more of the same which is sad since it doesn't feel as fresh or inovative, but also is comforting that they still have their sound. Some of the songs I like, others are blatent rip offs. The track "Wildcat" isnt' much more than their remix of Missy Eliot's "Hot" only without her rapping. In then end I'm happy to have it, but it is also in my pile of CDs to sell to Convolution to let someone else enjoy. I stole it to my hard drive anyway.

Ryan said...

I believe that what you touched on is exactly what students need; what the schools have set up now is the reason why many students become so turned off by the idea of science and math. There is so much potential there to make both subjects fun, entertaining, and exciting but instead students are subjected to routine use of a textbook, the occasional teacher that acts a little bit too excited about what he's trying to teach (and often times, throws in a bad joke that only HE laughs at and you can be sure that weird looks ALWAYS ensue...), and lame experiments or stupid games to get you "involved."

My hate for science and math can definitely be attributed to the fact that all of it didn't seem exciting. None of it seemed worthwhile and in the end, I saw it all as completely pointless - one of those, "Well, I'm never going to utilize equations and Newton's Law, so how does it apply to me?"kind of deals.

Maybe if there was more of an effort into making the background (historical and otherwise) more interesting, then teachers and scholars alike would suddenly realize that there is actually an appeal...

Mr. Hill said...

I still haven't been to Convolution yet. Maybe I'll pick up the Ratatat from them when you sell it. and combine the best trax from that with their last one.

hill bill said...

seems you must read "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. Very amusing!

Mr. Hill said...

No, I haven't read that, or anything else by Bryson. I really should.

Mountain Biking Mama said...

You must have written that "love and health of your family" crap in case I read that entry.