Rethinking Science Teaching

When I was an undergrad studying Computer Science I learned a lot of new stuffs to qualify me to be a good programmer and a Computer Scientist. Beside my computer classes I took five Statistics courses and five Mathematics courses. In these classes and in some theoretical Computer Science classes such as Operation Research, Algorithms, Finite Automata our professors taught us many theories and proofs. We learned how to solve double and even triple integrals, how to write code for Fibonacci series, how to generate Chi-squared distribution and many, many hypotheses and theories.

Unfortunately, many of our professors in the university missed the most important factor in teaching. That is, teaching students to link between these theories and their applications or practical usage in the real world.

It is only when I enrolled in Grad School and started working on my research and read many  Wikipedia pages that I began to find a usage in real life for what I have learned in undergrad. Many of the science discoveries are based on what scientists observe in nature. Velcros are an inspiration from a plant called Bur and the Eiffel tower structure design was borrowed from the human’s femur bone. I learned this and many other things when I started working on my research. I learned also that computers and networking would have never been built without time synchronization, routing, and localization algorithms which are in fact are borrowed methods from some plants and insects. Fireflies synchronize their light emissions precisely for communication purposes and for mating as well. The field of Artificial Intelligence is all based on how the human brain works, how do we behave and how animals and insects communicate. Do you know why when you see an ant in your house it is not recommended to squash it? The reason is because when an ant dies it produces a chemical called pheromone that other ants smell and come to bury their deceased. So instead of having one lost ant in your house you will end up with many mourn ants.  Ants also use pheromones to communicate in building what we call Ant Colonies and this is how we learned in Computer Science about Self-Organizing Systems.

First time I learned about Fibonacci series was in a computer class when the instructor gave us homework to write code to generate Fibonacci numbers. The instructor gave us the formula and showed us an example of the numbers in the series. The numbers are: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, etc. At that time, we didn’t have internet or Wikipedia to learn more about this Fibonacci series. I recently discovered something new and interesting about it. The pattern of these numbers appears in branching in trees and in the arrangements of some spirals fruits like pineapples [Wikipedia]. This series was first discovered by studying rabbits. Read more about here.

Watch this video and enjoy learning about the Fibonacci numbers (skip to mark 1:10):

I dare you say I don’t like science now. Wouldn’t it be more fun and interesting if we can teach kids  to enjoy science!

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5 thoughts on “Rethinking Science Teaching

  1. the video is crazy and amazing at the same time, God I love science!

    I once read that you can find the golden ratio in human body, in the distance between eyes, nose, mouth and ears, and that what gives humans pretty faces, and it is what plastic surgeons use to make faces even prettier.

    love this post so much 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes, science is fun. I believe the more we know the more we believe in our Creator. There is a reason for every thing created. Every plant, every animal and even the tiniest bug or insect has a job to do on this planet.

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