Education needs to adapt to new knowledge. It needs to inspire again. Teach Columbus sailing to the new world followed by the founding of the United States. Go through the decades leading up to the present time. And then cap it off with the ‘what we know today,’ that acknowledges we are on a beautiful blue speck in a vast, VAST universe.
This does not require any background, and can be included in classes as soon as 5th and 6th grade. Students should know the larger picture.
And this is not just in America, but across the world. Every individual of every background can connect to this because we are all in this together, as citizens of Planet Earth. For all the small differences we have, it is our shared planet that brings us together. This gives us a new broader context for life.
It may not take hold in a fifth grader, but they will have at least been exposed to it. Then when they see it again in High School, and again in College, it may begin to take hold. Undoubtedly though, it will inspire a number of those to take aim for the stars. And these new ‘heavens’ are not unreachable. We are an incredibly young species relative to how long we have been knowledgeable of this outside world. In just a few generations we could be traveling to other stars, and making friends with whatever neighbors we may find. But only if those who will populate these later generations, are exposed to the possibilities.
Education does not need to teach the specifics of deep space and astrophysics, and a map is simple and easily digestible. We can show a world map without teaching eastern culture and still convey an understanding of our place on the planet. We can show a universe map without teaching physics, and convey an understanding of our place in the universe.
To be continued in the next post…