Need for Change, Option A:
Video on Astronomy Misconceptions

Estimated Time: 8-20 minutes (depending upon how much of the videotape is shown).

List of Materials

Review and preset video.

Sample Presentation

Presenter: The purpose of this activity is to show that science illiteracy exists among even the reputedly best educated people in the United States.

Comment on the current season of the year. Perhaps you might say: Isn’t it wonderful that the snow has melted at last and we are beginning to see green grass! However, we know that in the summer the grass may turn brown and that next winter we will have snow again. Do you believe most graduates of high schools in the United States, who have taken all the required science courses, could explain why we have seasons? How about adults in general? How about graduates from Harvard University? Let’s find out.

Show a brief segment of the videotape, A Private Universe, where graduates from Harvard are shown responding to the question of why we have seasons.

Presenter: The video shows us just one example of the limited level of understanding of science that exists, even among the best educated segments of our population. 

If time permits, ask participants to share similar examples from their experience.

Presenter: It was to correct this situation, to reform science education so that Americans would be more science literate, that Project 2061 began.