There was an interesting post on the Neurolearning site concerning the education of "tweakers." As defined by the Drs. Eide,
"Tweakers are people who have creative discontent. They are not just critics, but intrinsically motivated people who seem to be striving toward perfection. Tweakers are generally confident that the way things are can generally be made better, and that they can find some way to do it. "
They then present some successful environments that help cultivate and enhance these types of students, as well as some environments that are discourage such students. I found this interesting because I, and likely all science teachers, have had tweakers in class at some point. As for how to keep them engaged in a classroom, here is a portion of the comment I left on Neurolearning:
One approach that works very well with them is to include variety in everything that is being taught. We look at new material by using mini-labs for students to try and figure out new relationships for phenomena before even mentioning them formally in class; readings; journal articles; traditional lectures; multiple demos; appropriate videos; more formal experiments; students presenting individual research results; computer simulations; small group work focused on applications and problem solving; and even links to to politics, industry, history, other areas of science or technology, and whatever else comes to mind. The point is, by working in an environment where the same material or problem is looked at from multiple perspectives, 'tweakers,' as well as most students, tend to keep their focus and interest in the material being studied. 'Tweakers' in particular tend to go into intellectual overdrive, since they develop so many new ideas to try and attack a problem or device. In addition, because everyone learns in different ways, variety tends to keep all students engaged, which is ultimately what we are after.
Many thanks to Zenpundit for pointing me to this discussion.