Dare Mighty Things

Holly StuartBlog, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Reflect Better


  • Learning and growth happen when you get out of your comfort zone.
  • Scientists and engineers have to accept the possibility of failure.
  • Teachers and students should be encouraged to Dare Mighty Things.

Do you Dare Mighty Things?

Take a moment and reflect: Are you playing it safe, staying in your comfort zone, and surrounded by the familiar? Or are you actively seeking out new ideas, learning new skills, and potentially risking failure in the pursuit of personal improvement? Which will give you a greater sense of purpose, fulfillment, and life satisfaction?

Dare Mighty Things

Dare Mighty Things is the motto of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL is the research facility that develops the technology used in NASA’s space exploration missions. If you go to the website of JPL, you will see the motto right on the home page. You can find images showing the motto on the walls of the buildings at the facility. It is an integral part of their culture and everyone who works at JPL embodies the Dare Mighty Things motto in every aspect of their work. By adhering to this motto, JPL has been able to achieve amazing feats of scientific advancement! JPL has been instrumental in over 100 NASA missions.

If the engineers at JPL did not Dare Mighty Things, we would never have learned about seismic activity on Mars (mars-quakes), seen into the cloud cover of Jupiter, or sent a space probe to Saturn’s moon Titan. They did not get to these places by playing it safe and sticking to what had already been done in the past. They had to be innovative and think outside the box.

Learning from Failure

JPL experienced many failures along the way to these successes. But the beauty of the Dare Mighty Things mindset is that it does not lend itself to allowing the engineers to give up. Instead, the engineers looked at what went wrong and learned from it so that they could come back better next time. And really, this is what scientists and engineers have to do on a daily basis. The biggest scientific breakthroughs did not happen in a straightforward way with no errors, failures, or setbacks. If our students embrace that mindset, what scientific mysteries could be uncovered or inventions created in their futures?

Imagine if we normalized the Dare Mighty Things mindset in our classrooms. The learning and growth that would take place would have ripple effects in all areas of our students’ lives. Click To Tweet

Dare Mighty Things in the Classroom

My students and I are currently in the middle of our astronomy unit. We are focusing a lot on NASA, JPL, and the technology used to explore our universe. Last week I asked my students the following question: if fear of failure and fear of the unknown were put aside, what could they do to Dare Mighty Things? Their responses ranged from not being afraid to share their thoughts/opinions, standing up for themselves when being put down by others, being brave enough to raise their hand more in class to answer questions, and trying out for a sports team. Imagine if we normalized the Dare Mighty Things mindset in our classrooms. The learning and growth that would take place would have ripple effects in all areas of our students’ lives.

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Dare Mighty Things in Your Own Life

The exercise also got me thinking about my own actions. Do I Dare Mighty Things? Not as often as I would like, but, yes, I do. Professionally, I have created videos for my students, started this blog series, and gone live with the Teach Better Team many times. In my personal life, I have run half marathons, climbed a 14er in Colorado (a mountain that is over 14,000 feet), and recently began advocating for my own mental health. When I think about experiences that have given me the greatest reward and growth, they have been those times that I took a risk and decided to Dare Mighty Things.

The great thing about this mindset is that “mighty” will look different for everyone, and that is okay. My list might look pretty tame to some readers and too risky for others. The point is to go outside of your personal comfort zone. If you fail, that is alright. As one of my students so eloquently wrote in her response to my Dare Mighty Things prompt, “When I fail, I can try to do better than before.” We could all benefit from that mindset.

Please reach out to me with your reflections and let me know how you are going to Dare Mighty Things in your life. Because when we take a chance and Dare Mighty Things, we will all be able to Science Better.

About Holly Stuart

Holly Stuart is an 8th grade science and design teacher in South Carolina. Her educational passions include finding new and innovative ways to get more students interested in STEAM, student-inspired discovery through inquiry, and learning science by doing science.

In addition to her out-of-the-box thinking in the classroom, she has successfully implemented The Grid Method into her teaching practice which led to her becoming a Teach Better Team Ambassador. Holly is married to her high school sweetheart and is a mother to three children.

When not teaching, she enjoys traveling and being outside with her family. Some of their favorite outdoor activities include hiking, running, and biking. (Holly often brings her telescope, binoculars, and microscopes with her on hikes!) Her indoor hobbies include reading, coloring, and learning more about sketchnoting and drawing.