Project learning can inspire the best of high-performance teamwork, or it can be devolve into unfocused chaos. How can we support each other to keep our eye on the prize? Share your project ideas, questions, and implementation experiences.

Mythbusters

Bill Kuhl

I revisited an article in Popular Mechanics about the popular Discovery Channel show, “Mythbusters”. On occasion I do watch the show and was thinking maybe this show will get people more interested in science. After reading the PM article, it appears that is the case, the show has a huge following with nearly 2 million viewers per episode. The show has been running on cable television for six years but I have only had cable television for a little over a year now, so just started watching this year.

Many people point to the positive aspect that the show gets people, particularly kids interested in science, some people counter and say it is mainly about explosions and over glorifies what scientists really do. The main characters of the show; Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage point out that the show was not created with science education in mind, their background are in special-effects. Some teachers use video from Mythbusters' episodes in their science lessons. When the President was speaking at the recent launch of Educate To Innovate program, Adam and Jamie were invited along with prominent scientists.

A quote I really liked from the PM article was:
“We’ve shown that it’s a lot easier to get hands-on experience than people think,” Jamie says. “You can memorize how to do something, but unless you internalize the information, it’s just a pile of data sitting on a table. Hands-on experience is what allows you to make it part of your brain; it brings that data to life.”

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Using Mystbusters to teach application of Scientific Method

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I am interested in using Mythbusters to show how the scientific method is not just a list of steps, rather that it is applied to everyday questions and problems. It becomes a way of thinking. Any suggestions on which episode to use and is there a way to view it online?

I can't help you with

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I can't help you with specific episodes, but I can tell you that if you have Netflix, you can watch many episodes of Mythbusters online. Hulu/the Discovery channel website doesn't have full episodes, but they have lots of clips which might do the trick. Another similar resource that might be useful for Science PBL is MAKE Magazine and its spin-off TV show on PBS. You can watch full episodes of the show at http://makezine.com/tv/.

Education and Outreach - Arts for Social Change Director

Keith, You'd be surprised how

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Keith,

You'd be surprised how effective CBL can be used in arts and humanities when the projects are developed effectively. In 2007, I was part of a team that developed a collaboration between a local high school in AZ and a local arts organization. The foundation of the project was a musical theatre production called "The Christmas Schooner". This was an arts and humanities project because the musical was based on an actual piece of American history. We engaged the entire high school in the experience at different levels.

We put Career Trades students as interns to work in the theatre, helping them to meet real world standards in their content areas. We placed Fashion design students in the costume shop, building trades students in the scene shop, etc. We then worked with teachers in all content areas to integrate the production in real ways into their classrooms. Math students helped the set crew build a scale model of the actual christmas schooner from history. We also provided math teachers with materials on dead reckoning and vectoring. History classes studied the historical context of the play becoming dramaturgs for the production. Medical sciences students did medical models of diseases that would have existed during that period of history. English classes studied the play. Early childhood teaching students planned lessons about boats and christmas trees.

The video production students documented the project, marketing students where charged with the special duty of planning and marketing a fund raiser for the final dress rehearsal of the show. And culinary arts students were engaged in catering the event. The entire school came away with an understanding of a little known piece of history and many had never seen a live theatre production. They met academic learning goals and standards in each content area while achieving this project.

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