Joy of Science

There are 7 billion people, more than 100 trillion ants, and more than a billion honey bees in the world. Where did all this diversity come from? How did we evolve - what’s the human story? In this article, the author explores some of the ways in which we’ve tried to answer these questions.
 
The gut environment is complex, with different amounts and types of micro-organisms along its length. What role do commensal intestinal micro-organisms have on homeostatic mechanisms in health and development of disease? This article explores some of these emerging frontiers in our understanding of gut bacteria.
 
Butterflies have always been a source of beauty and wonder. But, what gives these lovely insects their attractive colours? What is the best time to watch them? What do we know about their behaviour? In this article, the author explores the fascinating world of butterflies, sharing some ideas to bring them to life in the science classroom.
 
A curious 11-year old boy walks up to his teacher to ask, “What is a flame? What’s going on in there?” After a brief pause, the teacher replies, “Oxidation”. Factually speaking, the teacher was right on point, but the student felt deflated, wondering if there’s more to explaining the science behind something other than giving it a different name! The kid in this story grew up to be the famed Hollywood actor and director, Alan Alda.
The microscope is the mainstay of cutting edge research in many fields of biology today. When was it invented? What did the initial versions look like? What are some of the latest versions, and what can we use them for? This article provides glimpses into the history of microscopes before recounting some of its more recent and exciting developments.
 
Richard Fernandes co-founded Centre for Learning (CFL), Bangalore - an ‘alternative’ school, where he developed and implemented laboratory-based curricula for learning Physics. A strong believer in the dictum that “Physics is best learnt by doing”, he enjoys building experimental apparatus from material found in scrap yards or cannibalized from discarded instruments. In this interview, he shares his experiences of being a Physics teacher at the middle and high school.
 
This article explores the role of beauty in science education. The authors use research in science education to highlight the importance of teachers consciously making connections to aesthetic aspects in science. Caring about beauty in science can inspire a sense of wonder and curiosity among students.
 
Horses and rainbows make the world seem more exciting, not science”– student quoted in Mark Girod’s dissertation research study
Our Sun is visible during school hours, as long as the sky is relatively cloudless. Equipment that we can easily construct ourselves can be used to conduct simple observations and make measurements related to the Sun, from which insights into the world of astronomy, the workings of the Sun, pin-hole cameras and imaging, can emerge. A few examples of these activities are described here, with pointers to external text and video resources.
 
What if teachers were to provide interesting but also confusing contexts to students? Would it encourage students to ask questions, and do their own investigations? In this article, the authors present an example of how a plant with variegated leaves provoked students to conduct a series of investigations to satisfy their own curiousity about the natural world.
 
This article presents the journey of a group of science teachers in exploring Archimedes principle, and related concepts, through well-loved fables like that of the Thirsty Crow, as well as a series of simple, open-ended experiments with readily available material.
 

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