Ayumu the chimpanzee didn’t hesitate. Shown the numbers one through nine on a computer touch screen, he tapped the numerals in order, even after two through eight had disappeared behind white squares within a fraction of a second. The human audience watching a video of this performance began to murmur as they tried and failed to keep up with the fast-fingered chimp.
“Don’t worry, no one can do it,” Kyoto University researcher Tetsuro Matsuzawa reassured them with a laugh. “It’s impossible for you.”
Teaching science and mathematics needs to be more of a science like astronomy, not a folk art like astrology as has been the case for too long, Nobel laureate Carl Wieman said at a national conference on strategies to build a stronger corps of science teachers.
The goal should be to have “all students think about and use science, mathematics, and engineering more like scientists do,” Wieman said. “The most valuable metric” for evaluating effective teaching should be creating patterns of scientific thinking.