Science in the Real World

December 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

The true motivator of anything we do is ourselves.  If we don’t find interest in a given task, we will not complete the task to the best of our ability.  What you find interesting may be completely different from the next person but we all know that when we are successful at something, it makes it much easier to do it again.  Success is always a great motivator.  Success can be determined in different ways by different people.

For one micro-biology project in Counterpane’s Upper School (ages 12 through 18), students were given the task of baking bread in order to understand the process the yeast goes through in order to rise.  Astonishingly, the student baking the bread knew everything about the process: how the heat breaks the cyst of the cell, the yeast eats the sugar, and releases gas that creates the smell and causes it to rise.  After watching the beautiful loaf of bread rise in the oven, she was very pleased with the outcome of the project.  It worked out perfectly for her; so perfectly that she stated, “I would do that again.”  To which I responded, “In the name of science or in the name of good food?”  Her response shows just how powerful an attitude can make: “In the name of success!”

Success can motivate anyone as long as it is success that the individual truly owns and is not truly the success of someone else who may have helped them complete the task.  Whether it is a science project, cooking, or any other hobby, an initial interest and later success will cause a person to pursue any interest despite its apparent difficulty.  This particular student is now motivated to try something similar to cooking again because she did so well on it with minimal help from her peers or elders.  If we don’t allow children to try things such as this, we may prevent them from finding true inner motivation.

Success often leads to other successes such as this recent master piece and a twist on the original loaf of bread:

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