Hands on Science

Beena D B works as a Resource Person at the School of Arts and Sciences, Azim Premji University, Bengaluru. In this interview, she shares her experiences and insights on a life in science.

Children aren’t empty vessels. They come to class with amusing, surprising and deep-rooted ideas, inconsistent with contemporary science. It is imperative for a teacher to recognise this and initiate a process of change as such ideas could hamper learning.

The emphasis in the books is on the process of science - observing, asking questions, trying to find the answers through further observations and experiments - rather than on information that chil- dren are expected to memorize without any real understanding. Needless to add, it would be difficult to use this book meaningfully without doing the activities.

The aim of the Homi Bhabha primary science curriculum is to engage students and teachers together in a joyful and meaningful learning experience. The curriculum is built out of simple, thematically organised, activities and exercises. The TextBook, WorkBook and Teacher’s Book for each Class are meant to promote active learning in every sense. To use these books, students must get out of the mind-set of copying the correct answers from the blackboard or from other students. Small Science should not be just read, it should be done.

Primary school students, particularly in rural areas, have rich, interactive experiences of the natural world. But lacking systematisation and clear expression, their observations and skills do not contribute to school learning. Urban students from literate homes, on the other hand, are often encouraged to ignore their natural surroundings, and to concentrate on meaningless bookish learning.

Small Science Class 1 & 2 deals with the broad area of environmental studies. This Teacher's Book illustrates a few of the almost unlimited learning opportunities offered by our immediate environment. In these first two classes we should remain unconstrained by a definite set of topics; the idea is to simply open up possibilities for learning in everyday contexts.

Many scientific concepts can be understood and demonstrated through simple experiments, using locally available low-cost material. This article presents a few simple but exciting experiments that can be used to understand foundational principles in physics.

"I realized that quitting means just walking out of the 6 ft door. Yet people’s aspirations and responsibility don’t let them do it, sometimes forever. Because psychologically this was not what people were capable of because when their identity was defined by competing so intensely with other people, they could not imagine leaving” says this mechanical engineer-turned-STEM coordinator.

English

Try making this scribbling robot (and also explore the amazing Foucault's pendulum)!

What's in the toothpaste that we use everyday - Can you make some on your own? With the things found in your kitchen? In this exciting activity children will make toothpaste with materials commonly available in a kitchen. This helps them understand the different components in a toothpaste and what role they play. This is an integrated activity that can be used in a science classroom to bring some hands-on fun.

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