Putting Square Pegs into Round Holes

The current oil spill in the gulf, and the resources and innovation needed to come up with a way to cap it, reminded me of a clip that was shown at this year’s NAIS conference from the movie Apollo 13. Sometimes constraints fuel the best ideas. Notice in the two-minute clip below, that no one views the task as ‘impossible’ and they work together to try and come up with a solution. I hope school’s prepare kids for this kind of problem solving. So much of our education system, especially in high school, is still so dependent on standardized test scores. These tests are most often done in isolation and require students to identify the correct answer. While a problem like the BP oil spill is vastly different to the Apollo 13 problem there is one similarity: the solution doesn’t appear in a set of four multiple choice answers. There are a lot of very smart people working on the oil spill problem right now. Let’s hope they succeed like the NASA engineers did in 1970.


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