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Science, Democracy, and QC

Updated: Apr 2

Over the past 10 years, QuantumCamp has created an unparalleled library of hands-on, discovery-based science courses. We have taught tens of thousands of students in the Bay Area and beyond, to the rest of the US, to China, Japan, and Australia. Every course we teach is a journey into a major #scientific breakthrough from the Theory of Evolution to the uniting of all matter in the universe on a Periodic Table of Elements.

Our secret to developing great courses is to ask these two questions 1) What were these great scientists really trying to figure out? 2) What experiments did they run?

The answers to these questions ARE QC courses.

a kid with a test tube

Now, we are taking everything we have created over the years for in-person teaching and creating a digital curriculum accessible to all #homeschoolers, microschoolers, and more small school groups.

The interesting challenge is that science education is hard! We are experts and yet struggled to run engaging, hands-on courses in a business sustainable way. Schools everywhere, with limited funding and a shortage of content experts, struggle to provide science to their kids (in a way that is not exclusively screen-based).

On average, American school students only do about 20 minutes of science per day. Only ⅓ of our 8th graders are proficient in science and math. Reports show academic proficiency has remained stubbornly stagnant since the 1970s. You could say we Americans are not doing a great job in bringing engaging science education to our kids as we continue to rank poorly on international tests.

Ironically, in survey after survey, lab science is rated as students’ favorite subject. This is reason enough to solve the problem and bring more and better science to K12 students.

But let me broaden the urgency. America, and really the entire democratic world, is in a challenging spot, to put it mildly. The survival of our democracy and our planet depends on ensuring the next generation of citizens and leaders understands how to think rationally, compassionately, critically, and scientifically.

As we are seeing now, this is not a foregone outcome! If education is critical, and if science education engages students more than other subjects AND if science education truly develops deep problem-solving skills, then we need more and better science in our education system.

Aware of this, we have figured out a pathway forward — Quantum Courses!

Over the past year, we’ve created a new type of course, designed to break the generations-long logjam in #Americaneducation. Quantum Courses are the simplest way for homeschoolers and small learning groups to start doing real, authentic science that can spark critical thinking, build problem-solving skills, and help kids capture their own curiosity about the universe and grow into wonderful, engaged, compassionate citizens.

These are challenge-based, hands-on, DIY full-curriculum courses - designed as stories of discovery, all rooted in history.

This novel approach to learning will usher in a new era of education.

The 19th century model of education was perfect for growing an industrial society powered by assembly line and middle management workers, all carrying out narrowly defined tasks.

But technology has slowly taken on many of these tasks, relegating our model of education obsolete and ineffective. And If we continue to follow the 19th century model of education where blindly following directions and the ideas of others (just because they are saying something) is the objective, then the individual with the loudest megaphone wins, not the idea with the most beneficial impact.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “education is the safeguard of democracy”.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “education is the safeguard of democracy”. If we want a vibrant democracy, where we debate the merits of issues and are united in the goal of raising the tide, not individual swimmers, we are going to need to transform how we do education. The 50-year logjam has to break.

Clearly and evidently, the #publicschool system has not transformed AND it won’t unless its existence is threatened. Sparked by the pandemic, the proliferating homeschool and microschool movement just might pose this threat.

Yet, unless there is better content in this new education space, a better result is not inevitable. We’ve seen homeschoolers return to school. We’ve seen #microschools and pods fail. A new form or venue for education does not necessarily mean better.

All students, no matter if in traditional, charter, micro, or homeschool, need rich, challenging content. Our democracy is counting on it. And oh, in surveys, kids are saying this is what they want!


We would like to hear from you on how you do science.

We have a 9-question survey to help us understand where you go for science, what are your pain points, and what could work better for you and your family.

If you respond, we’ll send you the first two chapters of our 5-chapter short course, The Chemistry of Atoms for $15 (the cost of the supply kit). We’ll enroll you in Chapters 1 and 2, provide access to the course platform, and send the kit.

This trial is available by visiting the link at the end of the survey.

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