Observing and exploring as a tool for learning

Observing and exploring as a tool for learning

Almost two and a half thousand years ago, the Greek mathematician Archimedes was preparing for his bath in Syracuse. Entering his bath-tub, he observed that the level of water was rising the more he was diving in. It was at that time that he realized that this could be a good way to measure the volume of irregular objects, like his body. Excited by his discovery, he exited his house, naked, shouting “Eureka!”. Using this discovery, Archimedes was able to examine if the crown of the king of Syracuse was made out of pure gold, by calculating its density. Actually, his method showed that the crown did not contain just gold but was the result of the mix of other metals as well. Being sure about his discovery, he even bet his life when the king actually decided to destroy the crown in order to examine its purity. Archimedes was right. He had used his analytic skills to process the knowledge he has already received and discovered something new.

Knowledge and the way to acquire it is very important in any aspect of human life. Imagine life without scientific knowledge. Starting fire would be discovered later, physics, mathematics, engineering would be developed on a different pace. Imagine a world without telephony, connecting the farthest places of the planet and making exchange of information possible around the globe. Imagine humans without social skills. People with no moral values and ways to behave would constantly struggle and live a life with many hardships, where no friends and loved ones would be by one’s side. Imagine humans with no respect for their environment, where no one would care about the sustainability of their society and the future of their generation.

Learning is linked to our abilities to perceive the world around us, to process the information we receive and adapt to their changes. This is also the task of any educational system. As with Archimedes, observing and exploring are among the very basic steps to change our world.

(Post main image source: How taking a bath led to Archimedes’ principle – Mark Salata)

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