Improbable Research Teachers' Guide *

by Marc Abrahams, editor, Annals of Improbable Research

Three out of five teachers agree: curiosity is a dangerous thing, especially in students. If you are one of the other two teachers, AIR and mini-AIR can be powerful tools. Choose your favorite hAIR-raising article and give copies to your students. The approach is simple. The scientist thinks that he (or she, or whatever), of all people, has discovered something about how the universe behaves. So:

<> Is this scientist right -- and what does "right" mean, anyway?

<> Can you think of even one different explanation that works as well or better?

<> Did the test really, really, truly, unquestionably, completely test what the author thought she (or he) was testing?

<> Is the scientist ruthlessly honest with himself (or herself) about how well his (etc.) idea explains everything, or could he (etc.) be suffering from wishful thinking?

<> Some people might say this is foolish. Should you take their word for it?

<> Other people might say this is absolutely correct and important. Should you take their word for it?

Kids are naturally good scientists. Help them stay that way.


NOTE: This teachers' guide appears in every issue of the Annals of Improbable Research (AIR).
* NOTE: Not valid in Kansas, per order of the Kansas State Board of Education (November 8, 2005)