Issue 62 | October 18, 2013 | Science in the Jungle!


When a student lives in a remote area on the mission field with unlikely access to textbooks (reaching the nearest town involves a many-hour drive through the jungle and then an airplane ride), how then can high school graduation be accomplished?  Resourceful people will find a way.  Read portions of a thought-provoking course description for a science course completed in the jungles of Borneo.


Science in the Jungle

Construction always involves a lot of problem-solving and creativity.  Working along side a mechanical mentor, the student was able to learn ways to build structures that would last.
The course was titled "Introduction to Engineering Science" and included these projects:

  • Prepare a fuel shed site for working.
  • Mixing concrete appropriately.
  • Chopping metal pipes with both chop saw and hand grinder with a cutting blade.
  • Drilling holes into a small sheet of metal to use for joining the 2-inch metal posts to a wooden rafter by using a press drill.
  • Bolting a 2x6 rafter of an adjoining shed to the 2-inch metal posts.
  • Lining up various posts to be level.
  • Fixing a broken deck of a riding mower.
  • Learning to use a welding-tool in the repair of metal.
  • Mounting a rack to the back of a flat bed truck.
  • Learning to use a hand drill, ax, stationary grinder, drill press, chop saw and determining which is best for each kind of task.
  • Making a retaining wall with three freshly felled logs to prevent soil erosion.
  • Fastening the logs onto a rack and tailgate securely with ropes.
  • Constructing supporting structures for the logs, once they were in place.

      The course description revealed so clearly the amount of thinking, creating and problem-solving that must have occurred during the completion of all those tasks.
Did the student get a SCIENCE education?   Scientific thinking involves

  1. Determing the question
  2. Proposing a hypothesis
  3. Testing the hypothesis
  4. Coming to a conclusion

"Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge."   
- Carl Sagan