I did Chemistry exams when I was at school. I love the idea of chemistry but sadly, when it came to the nitty-gritty of the exam questions, my intelligence wasn’t quite up to the job. If I’m honest, I loved chemistry for the chemicals. Magnesium ribbon, sulphur powder, hydrochloric acid and real sodium that went bang in water. Brilliant stuff. I was the same with physics although slightly more successful.
I think there needs to be a separate strand of exams based on enthusiasm. I’d have passed chemistry with a A+ and I still would today. I think it says something about the explorer spirit more the the technicial. My kids love impromptu ‘kitchen chemistry’ sessions where I invariably blow something up or make something change colour. If I could pass an ‘enthusiasm exam’, I’d love to teach kids about the fun bits, the useful bits, the bits we’d need if we had to fend for ourselves in the middle ages. We’d all know how to vulcanise rubber, make gun powder, make stainless steel from iron, construct batteries or even refine oil into petroleum.
I’m seemingly not alone. A recent explosion (no pun intended) of popular science programmes on TV as well as a fair few internet crazes have brought ‘enthusiastic science’ to the masses. I salute you (and list you below by-the-way)…
- Mini-videos of all the chemicals in the periodic table from Nottingham University.
- Mythbusters TV show in the US
- Brainiacs TV show in the UK
- The Mentos and Cola thing
- QI (Quite Interesting) from the BBC
- HowStuffWorks website
- Curious Minds web shop in the UK
- And of course, the internet… but not sure what the link is!