Minds of our Own
Learn about misconceptions about how children learn and how they affect teaching practices in this video for K-12 educators and parents.
A video documentary on education and learning for K-12 educators and parents; 3 one-hour video programs and guide.
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.
Minds of Our Own Teachers Guide
About the Producers and Advisors
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Science Education Department, Science Media Group
Project Key Personnel:
Irwin Shapiro, Principal Investigator
Charles Whitney, Co-Principal Investigator
Philip Sadler, Co-Investigator
Matthew Schneps, Project Director
Ara Sahiner, Senior Producer
Wendy Jones, Associate Producer
Tricia Osborne, Editor
Steve Allardi, Assistant Editor
Nancy Finkelstein, Director of Educational Affairs
Melodie Hicks-Arterberry, Education Coordinator
Michael Filisky, Researcher/Writer
Linda Alford, Michigan State University
Helen Ansell, Bok Center
Melanie Barron, Cambridge Public Schools, MA
Peggy Charron, Founder, Action for Children’s Television
Helen Corbett, Corbett & Lalli Public Relations
Barbara Costa, WGBH, Boston
Sally Crissman, Shady Hill School
Mary Futrell, George Washington University
Daniel Goroff, Bok Center
Paul Hickman, Belmont High School
Jennifer Hickman, Boston University Academy
Richad Konicek, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Melanie Magisos, University of Arizona, Center for Image Processing
Jose Rivera, Umana/Barnes Middle School
Joel Schneider, Children’s Television Workshop
Eric Stange, Independent Documentary Filmmaker
Meg Watson, Project PALMS, Boston Public Schools
Marianne Wiser, Clark University
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.