Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Flame Challenge

  1. May 31, 2012 #1
    I thought that this was an interesting idea. Basically, Alan Alda started a competition of some sorts for people to explain what fire is to eleven year olds.

    The basis for starting this is that, when he was eleven, he was interested in fire, asked his science teacher what it was, and all that she said was, "it's oxidation." Clearly, to an eleven year old, that isn't going to take him very far.

    Lots of people submitted to it, and as of now it's down to the top six finalists (they were all judged by a panel of 6,000 eleven year olds...)

    Here's the link to the website if you guys want to check it out: http://www.flamechallenge.org/

    Some of the videos are interesting to watch, and one guy even implemented a song into the end of it.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 31, 2012 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I also just finished watching the Colbert Report. Haven't had a chance to check out the site yet, but I thought that Stephen's explanation was... interesting. :biggrin:
  4. May 31, 2012 #3
    The devil's tears are burning strong tonight...
  5. May 31, 2012 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    And just when I got over needing a night-light...
  6. May 31, 2012 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    My favorite is #794, followed by #765.

    I thought the start of #794 was kind of strange, with the guy chained to the wall (they never did explain that part), but it did give the best explanation for an 11-year-old and the song was great!

    I think some of the entries underestimated what an 11-year-old could understand.
  7. May 31, 2012 #6


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

  8. May 31, 2012 #7


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    What? No mention of Phlogiston? !?!

    I'm kidding! But really, I try to bring "phlogiston" into the discussion every chance I get, particularly in professional settings.
  9. Jun 1, 2012 #8
    My thoughts as well. They definitely don't need to make it extremely complex, but I think the biggest part of the competition was making something that 11 year olds would actually find interesting, and wasn't too over their heads. Just dumbing down the concept doesn't help them at all.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook