View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/5-tips-to-improve-your-critical-thinking-samantha-agoos
Every day, a sea of decisions stretches before us, and it’s impossible to make a perfect choice every time. But there are many ways to improve our chances — and one particularly effective technique is critical thinking. Samantha Agoos describes a 5-step process that may help you with any number of problems.
Lesson by Samantha Agoos, animation by Nick Hilditch.
The weight management expert developed a school program, and released it into the public domain, called Activity Burst in the Classroom (ABC) that helps restless children release their energies.
Question: What health programs have you developed?
David Katz: I have five children: four daughters and a son. My son is the youngest. The reason I have five children is that we had four daughters in a row. We thought we were done. Then we came out of retirement to try once more for a little gender balance in the troops and we got Gabriel. Now, Gabe is now ten but when he was five, I gave a talk at Dartmouth, my alma mater, to families in the evening and this was on health promotion. And it was a big auditorium filled with families including my own. So in the front row was my wife Catherine, my four daughters lined up on one side of her, and my then five-year-old son Gabe on the other side who did not want to be sitting still at seven in the evening listening to his dad drone on. So he was very fidgety and basically driving my wife crazy by fidgeting out of his seat. This got completely out of control and I had to excuse myself and say, “Forgive me folks but my son is torturing my wife. I have to intervene.” And I had my son get up, basically, and do a lap around the auditorium to try and work out this restlessness so he could sit still. So he did his lap, came back, sat down next to his mother, and then gave me this impish in-your-face-dad-you-asked-for-it look and took off again and took another lap.
At the end of lap two he never bothered to sit down, he just waved and kept right on going. And three kids got up and took off after him. And when the four of them came around nobody sat down, they all kept going and every kid in the audience under the age of twelve got up and took off after these guys. So we now had thirty-five kids running laps around the audience. To make a story short, what I wound up telling the audience was, you know actually this is much more important than anything else I could be saying now. My son is healthy; I assume your kids are healthy; he’s a healthy five year old boy. Now Lord knows if you’re cooped up with him for any length of time you need to medicate either him or yourself but let’s face it. Rambunctiousness in a little boy is normal. And rambunctiousness should be treated with recess, not riddling. These kids are telling us something.
So looking at that response, just that native, rambunctious response of my son I thought we really should be able to find a way to let kids get up and do exactly this run around for a minute when they need to. A program called ABC for Fitness was born. It stands for Activity Burst in the Classroom. Since that day five years ago, it has been refined by experts in both physical activity and teaching and it is now a detailed instruction manual broken down by grade level and subject matter that teaches elementary school teachers how to take kids through brief bursts of physical activity throughout the day anytime they need it; when the kids are restless, not paying attention, apathetic. Instead of just wasting their time saying “sit still, keep your hands to yourself, pay attention,” take them through an activity burst.
We’ve implemented this in a school district in the Midwest and tested it there. And we found significant improvements in fitness, stable performance on standardized tests, no reduction in teaching time, no increase in the disruptions in the classroom, and a significant reduction in medication used for both asthma and ADHD. You can actually replace riddling with recess if you break recess up so it fits into the school day. The schools have trouble these days finding time for a block of Phys Ed or a block of recess.
So ABC for Fitness is a program developed by my lab that is now in the public domain, free. To the best of our knowledge, we are in hundreds, if not thousands of schools because the program works. It’s very easy, all the materials are readily available and it costs nothing.
Recorded on: July 06, 2009
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Transcript – Billy Wickman: Hello Mr. Nye. Happy Tuesday. My name is Billy. I’m a big fan and I have a question about climate change. If the photons from the sun are trapped in our atmosphere by our greenhouse gases then how come those same greenhouse gases don’t block photons from the sun from ever entering our atmosphere? Is there some sort of weird cosmic one-way road sign? Thank you.
Bill Nye: Billy. Billy. Billy. You have chanced on like the most important idea right now in climate science. When you say photons from the sun come in through the atmosphere, that is absolutely true. And they go through out through the atmosphere but not all of them get out at the same energy. Now here’s the strange thing about light and electromagnetism. Now bare in mind we are humans trying to understand nature and if we can’t get our heads around this it’s our problem. But basically, if you do experiments on waves of lights or electricity, electromagnetic waves you will find waves. If you do experiments on photons of light or electromagnetism you will find particles. You can either detect particles or waves. So both of these ideas have helped us in physics understand nature. So here’s what happens. Light from the sun comes in at wavelengths that our eyes detect very well. It hits the earth and is reradiated, the energy is absorbed by the atoms of soil, of bridges, of the ocean, of ice and reradiated or sent back out again at a longer wavelength, it’s a little longer. And I don’t know if you know this but you probably do, what we, you and I call heat is the same thing as light at a wavelength longer than we see with our eyes. There are a lot of animals that see these wavelengths, but that’s not our issue. You’ve seen it with night vision goggles, those cool images. So light from the sun passes through the atmosphere; hits the earth; all these different materials and is reradiated at a longer wavelength that carbon dioxide, methane and some other gases hold in. The visible light at the faster wavelength goes through, the heat at the longer wavelength does not go through to a limited extent, to a significant extent. And that’s how the earth is warm enough for us to live. And because we put so much extra greenhouse gas via various species in the atmosphere, the world is getting warmer faster than it’s ever gotten before. It’s a great question Billy. That is the essence of this. Passes through at one wavelength, starts to go back out at a longer wavelength that is held in by the greenhouse gases. This is the fundamental idea in climate science. Carry-on!
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