Yesterday I posted about 11 Experiments that Failed by Jenny Offill. It reminded me of one of Isaac's favorite TV shows, Mythbusters. To be honest, it is one of my favorites, too. And the underlying message in the show, and the message that the hosts, Adam and Jamie, try to spread, is that it is okay to fail. As long as you keep trying and learn from your mistakes. They also think explosions are really cool and that every show should end with a big one-- they are boys, after all.
We went to see Jamie and Adam speak last year. They shared their histories and their philosophies. And they talked about what they hope people, especially kids, take away from the show -- to accept that you will make mistakes, have to start over sometimes, but eventually you will find the solution, even though it may not be what you originally expected.
I really like their message. It is one that kids don't hear enough. Too many students are unwilling to make mistakes and cannot handle when the learning process does not go smoothly. Science is about problem solving. Sometimes it involves a lot of backtracking and rethinking what you think you know. The reward comes when you finally solve the problem and have gained new knowledge.
We were watching an episode of Mythbusters over the weekend and one of the tests that Jamie and Adam were doing in their effort to prove or disprove the myth didn't work. In fact, it failed miserably. They went back to the workshop, reworked their plan and tried again, with much better results. They commented that science is not easy, but that is what makes it fun. I made Isaac repeat that to me. I want him to remember it.
I think Jamie and Adam would like the character in 11 Experiments that Failed. They may even take some of her experiments and try them out for themselves. I would like to see their results.