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Overview
Minds of Our Own
 

A video documentary on education and learning for K-12 educators and parents; 3 one-hour video programs and guide

Now on DVD

Why don't even the brightest students truly grasp simple science concepts? These video programs pick up on the questions asked in the Private Universe documentary and further explore how children learn. Based on recent research, as well as the pioneering work of Piaget and others, Minds of Our Own shows that many of the things we assume about how children learn are simply not true. For educators and parents, these programs bring new insight to debates about education reform.

Produced by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. 1997.

Closed Caption     ISBN: 1-57680-064-4

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Related Resources See all
A Private Universe
Private Universe Project in Science
Private Universe Project in Mathematics
Surprises in Mind
Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections
 
A Private Universe Project
Individual Program Descriptions

VOD1. 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.

VOD2. 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.

VOD3. 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.

 

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