This just in from the "why didn't they have this when I was a kid" files: a high school is allowing kids to brew beer as part of their biology class. And of course parents are upset. Because, OMG, y'all, alcohol and kids. How dare they?
Erm, because it's fun? And kids like fun? And if you can combine fun and education, kids will actually learn?
Fermentation or anaerobic respiration are core bits of the biology curriculum in the state of Colorado. Kids at the Ralston Valley High School get to learn about them both in an easy hands-on way: by brewing up their own beer. They can even get 10 points of extra credit if they go for a tour at a Coors Brewing factory.
Imagine! Learning ... and fun! In a high school biology class!
Of course, this has parents upset because they say it's sending mixed messages about alcohol to kids who aren't legally allowed to drink.
I won't argue with them, but I won't agree either.
Alcohol is all around kids. They see it in stores; they see commercials. And all around them are adults saying, "Sorry Kiddo, but we're not going to talk about that until you're older."
Making beer (and wine, and vodka, and, and, and ...) taboo only serves to excite kids. Breaking it down via a scientific process, on the other hand, takes some of the mystique out of it. It's no longer something they can't wait to get their hands on. Suddenly it's just a bunch of sugars creating metabolic waste.
It's nothing more than a science project -- albeit a science project that drew them in and actually let them have a little fun while learning.
When put that way, is a beer brewing science project any more likely to turn kids into alcoholics than, say, building atoms out of gumdrops will make kids fat? I'll say no.
But it will make them remember anaerobic reactions ... probably for the rest of their lives.
Would you allow your child to take a course in beer brewing? What would you do if this was offered at your child's school?
Image via Nikolai Golovanoff/Corbis