Each year, I ask students to tell me what they think is the most important and the most interesting question in science. I use it to shape what we do in class. This year, I got more diverse answers than ever, perhaps because I did it as a think-pair-square-share exercise and then used the hand of god (a random number generator) to call on students.
This is what the hand of god looked like:
A good teachable moment on what random looks like (it never looks random – note the complete absence of hits in the left hand portion). I will get back to the issue of the predictability of random later in the semester.
And these are the answers we got:
Most important scientific questions of the age:
- How can we prevent climate change?
- Why can’t we cure cancer? Why can’t we cure diseases?
- What happens when resources run out?
- How did humans come to be?
- How many animals on earth?
- What is deep space? What are black holes?
- Nature or Nurture?
- How can we regenerate cells, limbs?
- How can we predict natural disasters earlier?
Most interesting scientific questions of the age:
- Is flossing important?
- What is life like on other planets?
- What are the causes of mental illness?
- How can we better use our minds?
- Is it possible to reach a peak level of immunity?
- Was the land covered by the sea?
- Is the globe warming and is it due to humans?
- Why do different people react differently in different situations?
- Where does evil come from?
- Will humans evolve in the future?
- How can we use genetic engineering to benefit us all?
Class: please email any questions that you want to add to this list.