By Oren Mangoubi, MIT graduate student and ConnecTech ambassador

What do the Maccabees, physics, and curious four-year-olds have to do with each other? Turns out a whole lot!

In November MIT Hillel visited a Jewish preschool, where we helped the children do Hanukah-themed science experiments!  The children investigated how glowsticks work and experimented with the buoyancy of oil in water, while simultaneously learning about the importance of light and oil to Hannukah.  While the preschoolers were learning about science and Hannukah, the ConnecTech MIT students learned an equally important lesson: although it’s important to guide children through their science experiments, it is just as crucial to let them develop their own (possibly incorrect) theories, just like real scientists.  After all, even real scientists have to try many wrong ideas before finding the right answer!

In one experiment, the children investigated the physical properties of light, using flashlights and mirrors to learn about reflection, shadows, and optical scattering.   At the same time, the children connected the science and technology they learned about optics to how the Maccabees restored the light to the Temple in Jerusalem during the dark days of King Antiochus.  Now that’s what I call “ConnecTech”!

created at: 2012-12-06

 ConnecTech is supported, in part, by a grant from CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection

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