Well, here's what has rustled my jimmies. Friday night I went to a neighborhood party and met a woman about my age who's new to the complex. In the course of introductions she mentioned she is a middle school history teacher. If there's one thing I'm passionate about it's education. I'm a nerd through and through and I love learning, I love facts, and I love science. Of course, as many of my nerd brethren have experienced, when talking about our passions we forget ourselves and get a bit too enthusiastic. My voice didn't crack or anything but there was gesticulating and the phrase "you know?!" was thrown about a bit too much. As a history teacher I asked her about education standards and about historical misconceptions and changes made my school districts. Specifically I mentioned the issue in Texas where a school board is redoing their textbooks and making some changes like renaming slavery "Atlantic triangular trade" ( read more here). I started going on about how the standards for textbooks are crap and how Texas and California basically wittingly or un- manipulate what the rest of the country gets to learn in their books in school. I plan on writing a whole separate article on that later. All in all I probably freaked her out by caring too much about education, sadfrog.jpg.
Later I was looking through bookmarks for things to inspire me and the first thing that caught my eye was a link to Eratosthenes, a Greek mathematician who calculated not only that Earth was curved, but it's circumference and axial tilt with a reasonable degree of accuracy, especially considering the time and tools. Here's an even more interesting factoid:
I'm sure there are a few people out there (wink wink) who will appreciate the nature of the highlighted. Anyway, Eratosthenes was a smart guy and he calculated all these things using math and logic (read the source article above for more info and a handy picture that shows his method which involved measuring shadows) but who discovered the roundness of the Earth according to my history lessons as a child? Christopher Columbus. I don't know why this story gets the press it does, maybe it's just a better story:
Christopher Columbus discovered the Earth was round AND AMERICA! That's right little Derpy, the country where you live! He discovered it because he had a DREAM and IDEAS but he had GUTS and DETERMINATION and LOTS OF MONEY. Remember Derpy, that's what AMERICA stands for. That and the rape and destruction of many unique and interesting cultures through the spread of disease, war, and clashing theocracy! OH GOD PLEASE FORGET I SAID THAT, WH...WHAT?! PRINCIPAL CHAMBLISS PLEASE DON'T! I NEED THIS JOB!Or maybe it's just easier
All right kids, who's ready for history? Now I don't want to hear any groaning. You're all 6 now, so you have to act like big boys and girls. Today we'll be talking about trigonometry, geometry, and calculus. Get out your graphing calculators and sextants. HEY SHUT UP DERPY! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR SASS...AND THAT JOKE WAS WHOLLY INAPPROPRIATE, WHERE'D YOU LEARN THAT WORD?!No, it's probably just momentum. People have a tendency to remember information the way it's given, especially if they trust the source and it conforms to their belief structure. This is why it's so important for the education system to remain balanced and impartial. Believe it or not, students trust that teachers have the answers and are right.
Just imagine you are conversing with someone and they mention Columbus discovering the Earth is round. You smile and nod and let it slip, you are a very bad person. Alternately imagine correcting them
Um, well you may not know this but the Earth was known to be a sphere as far back a the 2nd century B.C.E. A Greek mathematician named Eratosthenes...This is when your conversation partner would interrupt you and say, "Yeah, well bub I learned this in school okay? I think I know what I'm talking about here." And then you just end up looking like a huge asshole trying to act "all smart and crap."
|Era who? Shut up and give me your fries.|