Tag Archives: socratic method

Science For Giggles

7 Apr

for giggles header

Letter Knowledge. Understanding. Reason. Critical thinking. Problem solving. These are inextricable parts of my DNA as much as any gene sequence. I am a scientist (amongst other things) at the very core of my soul. I taught science to middle schoolers, and indeed at every chance I get today. I’m a practitioner of science in my professional life. I’m an advocate for science in the lives of my children.

I wince at the idea of “science” as a religion. Instead I think of the scientific method as the best way to approach problem solving. It doesn’t require brute-logic. Quite the contrary. It requires creative, outside-the-box thinking. It’s a methodology that is applicable to every problem life can throw at you, and when properly applied, can never fail.

My daughter with her heroes... and her dorky dad.

My daughter with her heroes… and her dorky dad.

On the social side of things, the Socratic Method, which dovetails nicely into the scientific method, is a way of relating to other people of different backgrounds and understandings. It eschews adherence to dogmatic thinking and values back and forth dialogue to eventually, rationally, resolve a difference of opinion.

Showing "The Hyneman" her Mythbusters-inspired science fair project.

Showing “The Hyneman” her Mythbusters-inspired science fair project.

Lace all of that with a hearty distaste for self-righteousness, add a steady diet of silliness with a generous helping of the dork-factor, and these are the values I am passing along to my children.

Distil those ingredients down to its purest essence, infuse it into pop-culture, let it marinate for 14 years and out of the oven comes a piping-hot helping of “Mythbusters” – my enthusiasm for which has been well documented in this blog. Yes, the show reached its finale’ some time ago but its host Adam Savage continues to be the standard bearer for fun-loving advocacy of scientific thought, creative thinking, and all things dorky.

Episode V got to go to the show the next year.

Episode V got to go to the show the next year.

In the post-Mythbusters world Adam has shifted his professional attentions to the website Tested.com where all the above-mentioned values are on full display. The site regularly produces content aimed directly at people like me. In their regular podcasts Adam has even talked (among other things) about his perspective on parenting and fatherhood which is, frankly, profound, insightful and eloquent. (In fact I have been trying like hell for the past year and a half to get an interview with him on just that topic… to no avail.)

A very gracious Adam taking time for a very tired boy after a Tested.com event.

A very gracious Adam taking time for a very tired boy after a Tested.com event.

In any case, today Tested.com offered up a delightful video that embodies everything I’ve outlined above, so much so that I felt compelled to share it. It’s as much a video about DIY problem solving as it is utterly ridiculous silliness. Scientific thought doesn’t always have to be applied to world-changing problems. Sometimes it can just be about making yourself giggle. If I was still teaching middle school this video would be my lesson for the day.

Watch it. Watch it with your kids. When they’re done watching, if they’re anything like my kids I bet any money they’re going to head straight to the toolbox and start building…

…I hope you let them.

 

-DorkDad

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