Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Aussie 8-year-olds learning atomic structure and the Periodic Table

Before I joined IBM Australia in 1970, I spent most of the 1960s teaching Chemistry, General Science and Mathematics to older high school students.

A couple of times at the start of each year I would take classes of junior grade kids newly arrived from primary school. I always admired their freshness, openness and willingness to learn – that is, before years of high school regimentation wore off some of that freshness and keenness.

After more than forty years in the IT industry, I am attempting to undertake a broad-brush relearning of all things scientific, on various aspects of physics, chemistry, life sciences, cosmology, climate science and other things that have developed so much over those four decades and still intrigue me.

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This includes wondering about how high school science teachers go about things these days. So I was extremely interested in a segment earlier this evening in the 7.30 program on ABC Australian television.

Physics and chemistry are the bane of many a high school student, but what if we're pitching the ideas to them too late? Can eight-year-olds absorb atomic theory? One teacher has asked that question in a bold experiment at a Brisbane primary school. And he says it shows young minds are much more advanced than we think.

Read the transcript and watch the recording here… Weird science reveals more advanced students … I think you’ll be surprised, or even a little amazed.

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