Teaching Science Like Comedy

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

Science education should be arranged so that students have more hands-on experience, says Bill Nye.

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less