Paul Lockhart wrote a brilliant essay called “A Mathematician’s Lament,” in which he competed the teaching of music to the teaching of mathematics. What if children spent years learning how to identify and describe colors and art forms but were not allowed to draw or paint until they got to college?

I was reminded of a critical description of the teaching of science in the late nineteenth century. Children learned to memorize the parts of a flower but never to study the natural world around them. All they knew of nature was what they memorized in dry textbooks.

Thanks to Steve Nelson for recommending Lockhart’s essay.