By Wayne William Cipriano
What is the most important skill we teach our young in school? That’s right, it’s reading. If you can read, you can probably find directions written somewhere telling you how to do just about anything.
What would you say is the second most important thing we teach our young (or should) in school? Take a moment and make a guess.
I’d say it’s the Scientific Method.
As everyone knows the Scientific Method is a disciplined way to find out about stuff. There are several steps to the formal Scientific Method, some say five steps, some say seven, but the exact number of steps is not nearly so important as the progress-sion from step to step.
You see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or feel, or think something and you ask, “What is that all about?” And, off you go.
You examine that sight, sound, smell, taste, feeling, thought from as many perspectives as you can to put together an idea of what it is, what is going on.
You begin to understand or think you might, and then you guess why what happens, happens. You figure some way to test that guess, to see if what you think is happening continues to happen in different situations. You try to understand how differing conditions change the thing you noticed, and why you think that is.
You refine your guess based on what your further tests showed you. And then you use what you figured out to generate another “what is that all about” question. And, off you go again.
The Scientific Method is simply a codified way to examine our environment, trying to figure out how it works and why. We all do the steps of the Scientific Method every day, perhaps in a less stringent, less “scientific” way, but we are constantly applying the principles of the Scientific Method. It is the way we have progressed from cowering in caves, hiding from the lightning, to being unafraid of the dark and examining other planets.
The Scientific Method and the intelligence to employ it, is responsible for as far as we have come as humans and teases us with a sure-fire way to take the Unknown apart and use it for our ends. That is why it is the second most important thing we teach in school and why it should be emphasized and practiced both in school and in the world outside of school.
We notice, we question, we guess, we test, we apply what we learn. We have to. We are scientists. And we always have been.