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talljasperman's avatar

Why are science shows better than science class?

Asked by talljasperman (18427 points ) October 30th, 2010

I love the science shows like Nova and National Geographic channel and Discovery Civilization… the science is interesting… but when I get the textbooks and take science classes I fail to see any similarities and I get frustrated… I’ve failed grade 12 physics twice… I don’t like the math components especially the trig parts…I even signed out an University Physics textbook and very little was taught that was similar to Science Shows…what gives… why does this happen?

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20 Answers

Seaofclouds's avatar

If they made shows that just talked about the principals behind the science, they wouldn’t get the ratings like the shows that just show the fun aspects of science.

Cruiser's avatar

Not only do they explore and “teach” the subject matter at hand, they don’t give you a test at the end!

talljasperman's avatar

@Cruiser maybe I would have passed if the teachers didn’t give a test at the end…I’m more at easy watching t.v. then being stressed out in class

Cruiser's avatar

@talljasperman I agree! Why do they have to ruin perfectly good classes by giving tests?? XD

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“Why are science shows better than science class?”

Because you don’t have to learn anything worth remembering.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I don’t know if I agree.I had a great science teacher that could make anything interesting.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

did he bend spoons with his mind?

talljasperman's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille so the teacher makes a difference… I used to like the Junior High teachers and was always good at math and science… then I went into high school and bam… It all faded away…I passed barely and got my diploma… but I had to take arts classes in university because I never passed chemistry or physics beyond the grade 11 level… The fun stuff apparently doesn’t get taught until a Masters level classes

poisonedantidote's avatar

Personally I would disagree. Science documentaries are good, but I have moved on from them now.

I used to watch lots of shows on particle physics, and cosmology, but i found that for the most part they where all more or less the same. If you have seen one or two of them you have seen them all. All particle physics documentaries talk of the standard model, the LHC, and they normally have someone like Michio Kaku explaining it in laymans terms. As for cosmology ones, they are almost formula based. they start with the big bang, they then talk about the stars and solar systems and galaxies forming, and finish off with a couple of theories on how the universe will come to an end.

They are also not always totally precise, and are one of the main causes for people not understanding things properly. Im not surprised to see creationists asking “how could the universe come from a big explosion” when on all the documentaries you hear scientists talking about the big bang and the big massive super explosion. narrators saying things such as “in the beginning there was nothing, then bang!”. when really, the big bang was a rapid expansion of space time.

Science documentaries are good, but they are more like a trailer or preview to the real science. they are aimed at the layman and are presented in a way that will get ratings. but really, i think once you have seen 2 or 3 documentaries on a topic you enjoy, you should move on to more serious material if you really want to know more.

What i have started to do recently, is leave the documentaries and instead watch university lectures.

Thanks to the internet, you can now “attend” UC Barkley , Stanford University and MIT and watch all their lectures for free. you can pause, rewind, and watch it as many times as you like. its like having a 1 on 1 with the teacher. Sure, you don’t get a test or a diploma at the end of it, but you get to learn.

Then you have absolutely awesome things, like the TEDtalks videos, one of my favorites for sure. This is a youtube channel where all the thinkers of our time meet up to give talks on many topics, and is a great way of staying ahead in the world of science. the talks they have today are no doubt going to lead to the documentaries of tomorrow.

If you dont want to dive too deep in to any specific topic, science documentaries are certainly the best way to get an all round appreciation of science. but if you want to go deeper you need to look at other things.

Personally, i find science documentaries too “easy”, but i find peer review journals and science books too “hard”. so for me at least, lectures and talks are the way to go.

note: im not bashing science shows, they are great and we need more of them.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies – XD Yes! and he could make a sandwich disappear too!
@talljasperman -Yes,talented teachers can make the most mundane thing fun.:)

lillycoyote's avatar

@poisonedantidote I agree, the science shows are great but certainly not the whole or the end of the story, just and overview and a place to start.

And @talljasperman, science shows are kind of science with the hard, tedious boring parts left out. They represent the highlights and end results not the years of study, years, sometimes decades, spent in a lab hunched over a test tube or an electron microscope, or on your knees trying to dig a fossil or and artifact out the ground with a dental pick and a paint brush.

But other people are right too. A good teacher or professor can make all the difference in a science class but there will always be a fair amount of rote memorization and simply slogging your way through it all by sheer grit. Not being critical, I never liked those parts either.

talljasperman's avatar

@lillycoyote your right… the science shows are giving the prize before the contest…. that should rightly occur after years of study… I’ll stop taking it for granted… like for example it probably took @Astrochuck years of study to learn how to become funny… and it took years for me to be able to sleep and eat when I want and however and how much I want…

lillycoyote's avatar

@talljasperman yes… as it took me years to become as highly skilled a pompous and patronizing ass as I can sometimes be. :-)

roundsquare's avatar

Also, science shows give you a bit of the flavor of why science is fun. Science is about discovery, science class is re-hashing what other people have discovered (which is not a bad thing, but its less fun).

YARNLADY's avatar

Science shows have corporate sponsors and more money to play with than schools.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because science classes usually precede science shows. It should be the other way round.

Yet at some point students will realize that without deeper explanations science shows soon turn into cheap entertainment.

Without real life references, formulas seem pretty boring. But when a twin boards a starship and his twin sister is 30 years older than him upon his return, it might be cool to find out how fast his spaceship was going. Right?

hotgirl67's avatar

Probally becuse you don’t have to study for some stupid quiz or test. Plus sometimes the shows are more interesting because you don’t have a drone for a teacher!

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Varient's avatar

I would say that it’s all in the presentation.
The science shows keep it general and go for the “wow” factor.

I realize I’m answering the question directly – you can’t really compare the two since IMHO one is more for entertainment, the other is for teaching you how to use it.

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