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Does science education need a dose of danger?
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 27 September 2010 18:12

A sign that reads 'THIS RIDE MAY KILL YOU' looms in the background as the Madagascar Institute demonstrates its 'Jet Ponies' ride at World Maker Faire.

QUEENS, N.Y.--Under the shadow of the Cold War-era Titan II and Atlas rockets set up outside the New York Hall of Science, this weekend's World Maker Faire extravaganza was, more than anything, a tribute to the more colorful fringes of hands-on innovation, science, and engineering. And the "makers" who populated its tents and booths wanted nothing more than to get the thousands of children in attendance interested in physics, engineering, biology, and even metalwork.


The kids were enthralled. This was not the kind of science you saw in a textbook: there were exploding chemistry experiments, flame-throwing robots, model rockets, lessons in laser cutting and soldering, and a perpetual whir and hum of jet engines that made one man comment, "Sounds like a large vuvuzela." Parked in the middle of the outdoor exhibits was the BioBus, a repurposed school bus that's now loaded with microscopes so that kids can learn about cell biology, including a tissue sample donated by comic television pundit Stephen Colbert.

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