Ahead of National Science Day, teachers and homeschoolers talk about what makes a good science curriculum


Teachers and homeschoolers nurture the next generation of science and technology talent by keeping kids engaged using affordable science gadgets, groceries, flowers, and the occasional freshly baked cake.

Teachers and homeschoolers nurture the next generation of science and technology talent by keeping kids engaged using affordable science gadgets, groceries, flowers, and the occasional freshly baked cake.

Six-year-old Zoe loves spending time isolating DNA from fruit, making frothy ‘elephant toothpaste’. And when he’s not experimenting with his bubbly chemistry kit, he has his head buried in science comics, learning about dinosaurs, volcanoes and flying machines. “A good program is anything that fosters a child’s natural sense of wonder. We have lessons that we do at home every day. There are always a dozen questions on topics like rockets or hydrogen atoms. So one day we explore the atmosphere, space and beyond. And another day, habitats and animals; elements of the periodic table; or just learn about the human body,” says Grace Lyn, who homeschooled her son Zoe.

Grace remembers how, as a student, she stood in line to check a microscopic view for 10 brief seconds in the lab. “It was our hands-on biology session for pretty much the entire college year. It’s remarkable how far we’ve come. Today, we have quality, affordable science gadgets that help create a environment that allows the child to thrive,” says Grace. Beyond the doors of a traditional classroom, homeschoolers, educators, and science institutions are nurturing the next generation of science and technology talent. and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education is one of the key elements.Today, in many educational institutions, emphasis is also placed on the way teachers are trained and on how they interact with students.

Kids take part in a fizzy rainbow experiment, a fun addition to the classic vinegar soda experiment, in a science experiment at home.

Kids take part in a fizzy rainbow experiment, a fun addition to the classic vinegar soda experiment, in a science experiment at home. | Photo credit: special arrangement

“Opportunities should be expanded for children in schools to participate in scientific discussions. And that happens when there is a move towards app-based knowledge gathering,” says Venumohan Manga, founder of the Little Angels School. In an effort to facilitate a deeper understanding of subjects at the school level, the educational institution has had subject matter experts as teachers right from the primary level since its inception in 1983.

Practical learning

Mother of two Deepthi Nannam believes that learning science concepts hands-on creates a lasting impression. A graduate in pharmaceutical analysis, Deepthi loved science experiments as a student and looked forward to the practical lab period. Today, her kitchen has become a living laboratory for her children. “I use ingredients from our kitchen for most of our experiments. I’ve ordered basic lab kits like test tubes, beakers, racks from various websites,” she says. For example, to explain the concept of density, Deepthi used oil, water, honey and milk to make a tower of density “We also created a rainbow of density using solutions of sugar of different strengths. And the kids were absolutely thrilled,” she says.

On other days, she checked household items for acidity and basicity using a natural pH indicator (hibiscus flower juice). “The subject of pH came up when our pink hydrangea flower from the nursery started producing blue flowers when we planted it in our garden. So whenever we come across a new concept, I try to explain in a practical way,” adds Deepthi.

science day

National Science Day is celebrated in India on February 28 every year to mark the discovery of the Raman effect by Indian physicist CV Raman

According to Vasu Prakash, Director of Educational Institutions of Sri Prakash, outlining to teachers ways to encourage student research and facilitate the exchange of ideas by providing platforms such as science festivals is another way of improve STEM education.

Although existing teaching methods have long relied on the rhetoric of well-established curricula, this does little to break the “I know and you don’t know” mindset in traditional classrooms. . “To break this barrier, we introduced the concept of the International Children’s Science and Math Festival from 2012. The festival was held once every two years and saw students from across the country as well as d ‘Southeast Asia to converge on a common platform and engage in exchange of ideas,” says Vasu Prakash. Experts from the Vikram Sarabhai Space Center and the Indian Space Research Organization also visited the institution to interactions with students.

wonders of nature

While many traditional educational institutions move beyond blackboards, educational philosophies like Waldorf are rooted in the understanding that science and scientific phenomena elicit wonder in a child when introduced in a meaningful way. suitable for his age.

“It is important for children to experience the wonders of science without becoming aware of the abstract concepts behind the processes in the early years. Experimentation leading to observation and conclusion begins fully at age 12 in a Waldorf program,” says Deepti Vadlamudi, Head of Academics at Swechha, a Waldorf-inspired school in Visakhapatnam. Strengthening a child’s understanding of science in later years begins with building a strong foundation in the early years. “Waldorf children in their early years are surrounded by the wonders of nature – sounds, tastes, sources of light, different smells, and varied surfaces. Jumping and balancing gestures have inherent concepts of spatial awareness and mechanics. Touching materials of different temperatures and lifting objects of varying weight and density are all sensory experiences of later physics concepts. The kitchen allows young children to experience cooking, of fermentation, caramelization of sugar and the child will help develop a loving relationship to learn and experience.Sensory experiences form living images that grow with children as the concepts underlying those images are revealed,” says Deepti. In higher grades, students describe observations from experiments. The class discusses observations, referring to them. licks, wrestles with them and then strives to come to a conclusion. Deepti adds: “Even if they arrive at concepts that are already proven, they have the experience of coming up with them themselves.”

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