Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Head Rush with Kari Byron

Head Rush is a new show on Science Channel, starting in August, geared toward middle-school age children, covering "mathematics, science, technology, engineering, natural history and space with hands-on experiments, video shorts, viewer questions and answers, games and visits from other members of the Discovery family (think STORM CHASERS and even CAKE BOSS)."  And best of all, Mythbuster Kari Bryon is goint to be the host! She'll be great, and I'm looking forward to seeing the show.

I remember watching all kinds of science-y shows when I was young:  Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye, etc., and they certainly shaped my views, and my love of science today.  And still today, watching shows like Mythbusters feed that curious kid inside me whenever I watch.  I certainly hope this show will bring the same energy and passion for science and experimentation that Mythbusters does, and with Kari at the helm, I'm confident it will.

In the above article, Kari says: "Hosting HEAD RUSH gives me a chance to show that you don't have to be a scientist to be passionate about science."  I certainly agree with this, and I'm glad it will be an important message in the show.  But to me, another message that kids need to hear is that they can become scientists themselves; you don't need to be some kind of a genius to become one.  I think the one problem with the shows I watched as a kid, was that it felt like what they were showing me were cute science experiments that were fun to do, but I never felt like it was really "what real scientists do."  It was only later that I realized the being a scientist is not some impossible dream, but something I could really work toward, if I wanted to.

I recently saw a collection of pictures drawn by seventh graders before and after a trip to Fermilab in Illinois.  They also wrote about who they thought scientists were, both before they went to the lab and afterwards.  The most striking thing I noticed was that after meeting scientists, a couple of the students expressed surprise that maybe they could become scientists some day.  It was quite cool to see their preconceptions changed after meeting the researchers there, and it would be great if there was some way to do that on a larger scale, such as with a children's science show like Head Rush.

I'm not sure what Head Rush's plan is in this case, and perhaps they haven't thought about this as a goal for the show at all.  And I'm not saying it will be a bad show if it doesn't get this point across.  I just think it's something that would be really worthwhile.
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