Monday, December 8, 2008

Texas outlawed the Erlenmeyer flask! #2

This is a follow-up to my previous post on shorting our kids by taking any chance for real experimentation away from them by removing all chemistry sets worth the name from sales counters, etc.

A reader sent this, which I thought worthy of a follow-up post here:
I just read the Wired article you
linked from your blog entry about chemistry sets. I
had no idea (but I shoulda guessed) that hands-on
science has practically been removed from education.
That is discouraging to hear. When I
went to school we did some sort of hands-on labs in
science classes from 5th grade onward. We used real
(gasp) glassware, from about 9th grade on each pair
of students used their own (shudder) Bunsen burner,
we learned how to do things like (oh how subversive!)
fractional distillation, and even worked with (OMG!
OMG!) some radioactive materials.

To protect the guilty, I'll not comment about the
chemistry and electronics that went on at my house
outside of school hours. The cops never did figure
out who caused the BOOM that upset so many concerned
citizens and did substantial damage to the concrete
down in the flood control channel.
This fellow is now a full-fledged technology person, earning his money by real hands-on electronics design, prototyping, and programming. He credits his arrival at the shores of the more-than-burger-flipper at least in part due to his exposure to science, scientific thinking, and experimentation. Nuff said.

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