Mythbusters and science education

My granddaughter needed to build something with gummy candy and toothpicks. She complained that it collapsed too easily. My son explained that cubical shapes aren’t as strong as pyramids. They built some pyramids and pushed on it. They seemed stronger. My granddaughter and grandson, who was observing, were satisfied, but my son said to go further. They found that the square construction would support one book and the triangle one would support a dozen.

Parents rarely have the opportunity to do this type of thing with their children. Mythbusters shows it weekly. What do they do?

They look things up.  I doubt they knew that it takes at least 6% methane in air to make an explosion. They give you the facts, which someone found somewhere.

They consult experts. The experts don’t have much time on the air, but they answer their questions.

They make models. They have them on at least half the shows.

They do the math. They even talk about such things as the standard deviation.

They do the experiment. That’s most of the show.

They publish. Duh.

They redo the experiment based on criticism. Why not? It gives them another show.

They accept, reject, or are uncertain about what they are testing. The show isn’t a failure if the myth is confirmed or plausible. Not all myths are busted.

They blow things up. OK, that isn’t science, but it’s fun.

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