The Mythbusters’ Kindergarten

I love the way Twitter can trigger some interesting connections.

Case in point, this rant started with a tweet from this afternoon.

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Clarence makes a great point since the process used by the Mythbusters is very much rooted in solid science while being very hands on. Not to mention a lot of fun.

But my warped little mind also saw a link to the work of Mitch Resnick, director of The Life Long Kindergarten Group of the MIT Media Lab.

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Resnick and his team work from the premise that the “kindergarten approach to learning – characterized by a spiraling cycle of Imagine, Create, Play, Share, Reflect, and back to Imagine – is ideally suited to the needs of the 21st century”.

So, what’s that got to do with a Mythbusters?

Look closer. That cycle is exactly how they work on the program.

Imagine some unusual situation or strange claim. Then create something to test the hypothesis, play with it, share and reflect on the results (usually why things went wrong), and then start the cycle again.

Sharing also comes from extensive and intelligent feedback from their audience, some of which is incorporated into the shows.

And one more connection to kindergarten, just look at the smiles on the faces of the participants as they discover something new. It’s not just the visceral fun that comes from blowing up stuff. :-)

Yes, we should be using Mythbusters as a blueprint for teaching science – in high school as well as elementary. But also math, social studies, art, and so much more.

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