September 21, 2011 by k. liz
I listened to another NPR Education podcast tonight. I learned that golf balls bounce significantly higher when boiled on the stove than when frozen in the freezer. Who knew?
Tonight the podcast was about two kids, Mary and Payton, who won a 3rd-6th grade science competition. The kids were asked to come up with a scientific problem relating to either sounds or sports and then to think of a possible solution. The winners got to go to California and were paired with a scientist who would help them develop their solution. Mary worked with sounds and created a new instrument that is played by spraying water on tin cans. Payton wanted to build a golf ball warmer that would keep the temperature of the golf balls consistent (because it is illegal in golf to microwave your ball, of course.)
One of the statements I really liked from one of the kids when answering about his advice for kids who don’t like science was, “Just don’t call it science! Call it how things work!”
So, I learned about new instrument ideas, and things about golf balls that I never knew before. But, these kids also taught me again about the importance of making education real and pertinent in their lives. Payton plays golf every weekend. Mary’s aunt is a musician. They are taking their science class and laying in their bedrooms dreaming up the next big science experiment. They are taking school home because someone made it interesting and made them want to know more. They spent part of their summer researching and building new things and learning about how things work. They are using words like prototype and research. They are experimenting and growing and enjoying education because someone is taking an interest in them.
Don’t call it science! Call it touching someone’s life and making a difference.