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Scientific debugging [Oct. 24th, 2007|12:02 pm]
As I was working on figuring out why a webpage wouldn't layout properly yesterday, it occurred to me that debugging problems is one of the purest expressions of the scientific method around. I think kids should learn that in school: if you understand how science works, you'll be able to make things work when they break.

[User Picture]From: portlandpiglet
2007-10-25 05:03 pm (UTC)
When working with high school students, Chris often comes up against them not wanting to use trial and error. When a stage lamp isn't working, they'll go to him and say "it's broken," like that means they're done. So he'll make them sit down and figure out where the problem is (the bulb, the cord, etc.). It never occurs to them to do this the first time. Which isn't surprising, since many of these kids have parents that won't let them boil water at home, let alone prepare a four course meal. And many of them get whiny when Chris won't give them the answer so they can do their task. I think it kind of blows their minds when they realize that Chris doesn't always have the answers, and that their task is to figure it out. But the ones who make it through this process fall in love with technical theatre.

When I was a student, I hated it when teachers gave me assignments where you not only had to find the answer, you had to find the question first. I was really busy as a student, both with classes and other things, and so I just wanted to learn the material as efficiently as possible. Also, when you're worried about your grades, I think student sometimes even perceive these kinds of assignments as "unfair." When you're expected to do a million things at once, and be perfect at all of them, their isn't as much room for the "error" part of "trial and error."
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