Teaching Science Like Comedy

Television Host and Science Educator
Science education should be arranged so that students have more hands-on experience, says Bill Nye.
  • Transcript


Bill Nye: No one’s ever asked me that before.  That’s pretty good.  How is science education like comedy?  Well, you want to get people to choose, choose to embrace it. 

You always want the student to figure it out for her or himself.  You don’t want to give her or him the answer, if you can help it.  And maybe that’s—actually, maybe that’s an excellent analogy to the—Steve Martin’s point was, as I understand it, as I understand it, was that the funniest time is when you say “Well, you had to be there, you had to be there.”  And then the reason for that was because you’ve chosen to laugh.  You have picked a time to laugh.  So if you challenge the student to come up with the answer for her or himself, then he’s chosen to do that.  She has chosen to get the answer.  And so it makes it your own.  As we say, having somebody do it for themselves is worth being told about it a thousand times. 

And so what you want to do is arrange science education so that students have hands-on experiences.  And everybody talks about this all the time, but it’s a whole other thing to actually pull it off, to actually do it that way.  

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd