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Aha! Moments From Science Class

Published: December 20, 2013

"Exciting" or "cool" isn't how most kids would describe their last math or science class. But when lessons are less about listening and more about doing, that changes.

That's what the New York Times discovered in a contest in 2013 when they asked for the best answers to the question: "What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?"

The contest was open to students between the ages of 13 and 19. They were asked to submit a memorable moment from any time in their STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and what they learned from it. Responses were colorful, passionate, and pretty cool.

Here's a sampling of best entries:

Glowing pickles

Destiney's science teacher had a penchant for weird experiments. Destiney had a penchant for pickles, so she found this experiment memorable. Her teacher plugged pins into either side of the pickle and charged it with electricity until it began to glow. The best part? She got to eat the pickle afterwards.

Fun physics

Shaun recalled his high school physics teacher spilling coffee on the floor, throwing balls in the air and pretending to get shocked with electricity to make lessons come to life. "Sure, some moments in Physics didn't seem educational, but they could always be tied back to what we were learning," Shaun wrote. He learned "how to calculate how far an object will go when thrown...that time isn't the same in any one place (and) that the speed of light can never be reached."

Fields of green

"ColterLA235" said their third-grade teacher changed their perspective on numbers by asking them figure out how many blades of grass were in the area that the class was sitting in. Using area dimensions and estimates, they came up with a plausible answer.

The lesson - for all of us: Learning can (and should be) fun.

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