Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mythbusters as Science Class?


One of our family’s favorite TV shows is Mythbusters (on Discovery Channel) – the show where Adam and Jamie test out various myths to see if they hold up to close scrutiny.  Note only is the show fun to watch, but it doubles as science class when I’ve got a migraine!  Why?  Glad you asked!


1. Mythbusters uses basic scientific principles to test their myths.  They test the myth itself along with a control group.  They often start with scale testing to decide how to do the final test at full scale.  They also often break the myth into pieces and test each part before testing the whole thing at the end of the show.  When all is said and done, the kids are learning a lot about problem solving.  My favorite – Diet Coke and Mentos.

2. The Mythbusters actually teach science.  Yeah, they put up a disclaimer, so kids can close their eyes and cover their ears, but I have threatened my kids enough that they usually listen!  My kids have learned the science behind various kinds of explosions and terminal velocity, among other things.  My favorite – dropping a penny from the Empire State Building.

3. Even history makes an appearance in some of the myths.  Mythbusters did a pirate special in which they included lots of information about piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries.  They have tested myths from ancient Greece and ancient China and the US Civil War.  My favorite – Archimedes death ray.

4. Safety comes first!  Many of the myths that are tested are safety related.  The show about how many lights it took to set a Christmas tree on fire ended with a strong lecture on Christmas light safety.  There have been shows on kitchen grease fires and defective fire heaters, all of which end with discussions of safety.  I am also happy to see that all of the testing is done with safety in mind.  My favorite – Kitchen grease fires and water.

mb-mythbusters-sign160 5. They do a number of alcohol myths which might be off-putting to some families, but I actually don’t mind it.  Pretty much all of the myths about consuming large amounts of alcohol show the Mythbusters being quite miserable, whether from the drinking itself or the hangover the next morning.  My kids aren’t too interested in drinking to excess after watching these results!  My favorite – Beer vs. beer and shots to see which gives a worse hangover.

So, yeah, Mythbuster science may be lazy day science, but it certainly works around here!  My kids have learned some surprising things and enjoy it at the same time!

Check out Thirsty Thursday for more great homeschooling ideas!


Robin said...

My kids are watching Mythbusters right now as I'm reading this. We love it!

Joy @ Five J's said...

That's not lazy to watch Mythbusters as school. I totally agree it can be entirely educational. I really wish we had cable or satellite so we could get Discovery, Science, History and TLC! (Oh, and the Food Network for Home Ec…er, I man Good Eats with Alton Brown!)

Anonymous said...

Have your kids actually DO some myth busting. Copy some of the things they do on the show that don't require too much equipment. It's educational, sure, but even more so when you TRY things.