Friday, August 25, 2006

What We Apparently Did Not Learn

In class yesterday we watched a halarious video made by Harvard and the Smithsonian Institute. They went to Harvard/MIT graduation at Cambridge, MA, and interviewed graduating seniors. They gave them a seed to hold in one hand an a peice of a log to hold in the other. They asked them to identify where the weight of the log/tree comes from. Our teacher asked us the same question before the video. The Harvard graduates responded the same way we all did. They grow and get their weight from water, sunlight and minerals in the soil and the photosynthesis that takes place. The Harvard Institute then interviewed 7th grade Earth Science students and they responded the same way.
The video then went on to point out that actually the weight in the log/tree is carbon dioxide. That through photosynthesis the carbon dioxide in the air does what it does and compresses ect., and is turned into energy ect., that that is where the weight and mass comes from--carbon dioxide. They interviewed one specific 7th grader before and after his unit on photosynthesis, and after learning all of this asked him again what trees are made of. 70% water he said, and 30% soil minerals.
The whole funny part of the video was that no matter what students seem to learn through 7th grade Earth Science, or after 20+ years of school and a Harvard degree, the ideas a student enters a classroom with, are the same ideas he leaves with! They were not saying that students don't learn anything, but in large measure it is very, very hard to implant new/correct ideas to replace old/incorrect ones. Funny huh? The trick then for education is how to get those new ideas to stick~.

1 comment:

aquamarine said...

I agree. In my own experience if it was something I was open minded about and had a desire to increase my learning more over what I currently knew to be true then I could be persuaded to reconsider my thinking. But if it was something that I had made my mind up about, usually changing that was near impossible. So, yes, I am saying I am extremely stubborn and suspicous. ;)