History of Science: The Allegory of the Cave Play

In History of Science, Middle School students have the opportunity to learn about what scientific thinking has looked like throughout human history. The goal of this course is to empower students to analyze the origins of scientific thinking and the shifts between scientific ideas.

The exploration begins with learning about the “natural philosophy” of the ancient Greeks. History of Science students learn about the nuances of historical context and engage with scientific thinking in a variety of ways, including project-based learning grounded in primary source analysis. The course emphasizes collaborative questioning: Students follow their curiosity through investigations, find the latest evidence about topics while refining the skill of recognizing reliable sources, and report their understanding of findings back to the classroom community.

Students in the fall History of Science sections read a Stanford scholar’s translation of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, wrote an adapted script, built every aspect of a play from scratch, and then expressed their understanding of the allegory in a performance. In the image above, History of Science students test prop shadows. (Shadows are a key part of this allegory!)

In this image, we see how creative Aviators placed red cellophane in front of the lamp -- not too close, or it would melt! -- to create the fiery glow of the cave.

Students also made impressive beards for their costumes.

Above, a liberated prisoner returns to the cave in hopes of freeing remaining prisoners from their intellectual chains.

Watch this space for more coverage of History of Science throughout the year!



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