Opening Possibilities in Experimental Science and its History: Critical Explorations with Pendulums and Singing Tubes
MetadataShow full item record
A teacher and a college student explore experimental science and its history by reading historical texts, and responding with replications and experiments of their own. A curriculum of ever-widening possibilities evolves in their ongoing interactions with each other, history, and such materials as pendulums, flame, and resonant singing tubes. Narratives illustrate how questions, observations, and developments emerge in class interactions, along with the pair’s reflections on history and research. This study applies the research pedagogy of critical exploration, developed by Eleanor Duckworth from the interviewing of Piaget and Inhelder and exploratory activities of the 1960s Elementary Science Study. Complexity as the subject matter opens up possibilities which foster curiosity among participants. Like Galileo, Tyndall, Xu Shou, and others, this student recurrently came upon new physical behaviors. His responses to these phenomena enabled him to learn from yet other unexpected happenings. These explorations have implications for opening up classrooms to unforeseen possibilities for learning. Teaching . . . is more about a conscientious participation in expanding the space of the possible by creating the conditions for the emergence of the not-yet-imaginable. . . . Teaching, like learning, is not about convergence onto a pre-established truth, but about divergence - about broadening what can be known and done. In other words, the emphasis is not on what is, but what might be brought forth. Teaching thus comes to be a participation in a recursively elaborative process of opening up new spaces of possibility while exploring current spaces. (Davis & Sumara, 2007, p. 64)
DepartmentMIT Edgerton Center
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Cavicchi, Elizabeth. “Opening Possibilities in Experimental Science and Its History: Critical Explorations with Pendulums and Singing Tubes.” Interchange 39, no. 4 (October 2008): 415–442.