1. Can We Believe Our Eyes?
Why is it that students can graduate from MIT and Harvard, yet not know how to solve a simple
third-grade problem in science: lighting a light bulb with a battery and wire? Beginning with this
startling fact, this program systematically explores many of the assumptions that we hold about
learning to show that education is based on a series of myths. Through the example of an
experienced teacher, the program takes a hard look at why teaching fails, even when he uses all
of the traditional tricks of the trade. The program shows how new research, used by teachers
committed to finding solutions to problems, is reshaping what goes on in our nation's schools.
2. Lessons From Thin Air
Just about everyone will agree that trees are made from sunlight, water, and soil the trees suck
up from their roots. But the surprising truth is that trees are made from air! Trees are
solar-powered machines that convert air into wood. Why is it that, despite the fact that
photosynthesis is one of the most widely taught subjects in science, so few people really understand the
central idea underlying this system? Starting with this question, program two explores why
something taught in school can go unlearned and shows that we often teach without regard to what children actually need to know.
3. Under Construction
A series of portraits of teaching shows how six teachers from across the country are working to
revamp their teaching and their schools, and are struggling against a variety of obstacles that
might thwart their efforts. These teachers are working to undo the myths about learning inherent
in their school systems, and are truly the heroes who will shape our children’s future for life in
the Information Age.