Hands-on science and engineering

Philip Greenspun asks if high-school students should kick the whole science/maths thing, and scratch-build bicycles instead.

It’s a surprisingly compelling argument, and ties in with the sort of stuff I was trying to do on The Big Bang this year. Rather than show how to make the rocket planes from scratch, for example, we focussed on the bit that isn’t obvious (optimised bicarb/vinegar reaction – surprisingly hard to do well). Pretty much any kid is ingenious enough to make a cardboard tube run down a washing line, I reckoned – particularly if they have a strong enough motivation to do so.

And a bicycle is an interesting choice – John, care to comment?

1 thought on “Hands-on science and engineering”

  1. couldn’t comment on the 23rd because the system lock down, dropped out and generally shut up shop whe I hit the comment button [‘t’ll be those bats in telecom tower again] [which reminds me I’ve still got the muscles for tomorrows paella in the fridge at the mill] but, yes,what? absolutely, build the bugger from scratch why don’t-cha. There must be a word for the situation that makes the protagonist become the first person to experience the predicament that they have created themselves by their doing, but I’m damn’d if I know what it is.

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