WELL, BACK IN MY DAY…ONE OF THOSE BLOGS
Back in high school physics class, so long ago a stegosaurus gave me my first wedgie, we did an experiment. The teacher gave each student like ten inches of masking tape and four plastic drinking straws. The mission was to build a craft that would protect a raw egg from cracking when dropped. Students pitted their creations against each other to see who could drop theirs from the highest point. I won in my class. My best friend won in his class and another friend of ours got the best performance of all the classes. The egg in his egg ship survived a drop from like three floors up.
I was on the Internet recently trying to find some of the details of how this experiment worked. I couldn’t find any. Oh, there were plenty of examples of how to do the egg drop experiment, but none of them were MY experiment. The first clue?
I WAS LOOKING ON THE INTERNET.
When I was in high school, no one had the Internet. Lots of people had HOME COMPUTERS – Volkswagon Bug sized, desktop computers people kept in their living rooms for the family to use to play Oregon Trail or something. The egg drop stuff I read the other day recommended students look to the Internet for ideas on how to build their egg ships.
When my friend and I wanted to learn how to build our ships, know what we did? We got some straws and tape and built prototypes. The. We got a carton of eggs and tried them out. Broke a lot of eggs for sure, but we learned instead of memorizing something someone else posted on a website.
The next thing I noticed was the budget. One site had a list of like a dozen items you could use – cotton balls, straws, Popsicle sticks – a ton of stuff. Another site didn’t give a specific component list, but did admonish the student not to spend more than A HUNDRED DOLLARS!
ONE HUNDRED . DOLLARS. On ONE egg ship. In my day, all of the ships in my school combined probably didn’t cost a hundred dollars.
I don’t know why this bothers me. I’m not really a get-off-my- lawn guy. I don’t object to calculators as long as kids learn math fundamentals first. I don’t even hate the Internet. Hell, like most of us, I carry it around with me on my phone. I write a blog. Me and the Internet lossy -face constantly.
But for some reason, the idea of taking this simple little experiment that required hands-on, trial and error to teach scientific principles has been undermined. It feels like technology is being used as a cheat, not as an aid.
I feel a little better now. Nice to get that off my chest. Feeling kind of hungry. Think I’ll go have an omelette.