Learning with Animals: hard science meets the rhetoric of twee
Two recent online videos depict science and scientific experiments in compelling ways.
First, the Kansas School System employs golden retrievers as metaphors for atomic particles in order to teach elementary chemistry concepts (WWDHD?):
I wonder if there are any latent ironies here between this obvious performance of species-co-evolution and a state school district who infamously insisted on teaching Intelligent Design.
Second, an NPR report on ants takes E.O. Wilson’s explanation of ant phenomenology one step further: scientists suggest that ants can count. OddTodd produced the video that accompanies the radio short. The video highlights the ethical dimension of the experiment–human augmenting and removing of ant legs–by drawing comic attention to the violence; however, it never quite resolves the tension. I also wonder how we should interpret the ants “feminization.” Is the video’s female gendering of ants “progressive” or does it collate them with a victimized nature?
How do you think children, who seem to be one target audience of either video, will interpret these lessons?