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Re: [Fwd: Physics]

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Bill Polhemus wrote:

> That's a really cute story-I've heard it often before-but I think you'll
> find it is actually just a myth, like Washington and the cherry tree.

>From the Urban Legends Website:

Quote mode on:

Origins:   The earliest account of the "barometer" legend we've found so far
comes from a 1958
   Reader's Digest collection, and the tale is usually identified as being
the invention of
   Dr. Alexander Calandra, who included a first-person account of it in a
1961 textbook (The
   Teaching of Elementary Science of Mathematics) and published it as an
article in Saturday
   Review in 1968. The various responses mentioned in the legend have also
been included in
   lists of supposedly "real" answers given by physics students when
confronted by this same
   question. (One such list was submitted to the periodical Current Science
by Dr. Calandra
   himself.) Whether a real incident was the basis for Dr. Calandra's
creation of this parable is

The obvious moral here is that education should not consist merely of
stuffing students' heads
   full of information and formulae to be memorized by rote and regurgitated
upon demand, but
   of teaching students how to think and solve problems using whatever tools
are available. In
   the mangled words of a familiar phrase, students should be educated in a
way that enables
   them to figure out their own ways of catching fish, not simply taught a
specific method of

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