Students of Chennai Schools can look forward to a more interesting science class soon.

In a recent initiative that seeks to make learning more fun for them, the Chennai Corporation sent a team comprising an Assistant Education Officer (AEO), two school heads and four teachers of Chennai Schools to the Science Centre run by Agastya Foundation in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh.

The team spent two days at the centre, and was exposed to different science and math experiments that can be performed with simple, low cost tools. Zone 2 AEO R.Bharithadasan said it was interesting to learn how simple experiments can enhance understanding of abstract theoretical concepts. “When we teach students concepts such as reflection and refraction, it might seem complex. But, when we use a small lens and demonstrate, children may grasp concepts better and retain them longer.”

The team will, in turn, train other teachers and the Corporation intends sending small groups to Kuppam every month to give teachers the exposure and opportunity to explore “joyful learning” methods in science.

S. Sreedevi, science and mathematics teacher, Chennai Boys Higher Secondary School, Nungambakkam, said when children also learn to do the experiments such as preparation of soda water or understanding through a model how a foetus is protected in the mother's womb they are bound to get excited. “When you actually perform the experiment, it feels like you are the scientist discovering the concept all over again. It will make children more inquisitive and motivate them,” she said.

T.N. Venkatesh, Joint Commissioner (Education) of Chennai Corporation, said the civic body would also procure small kits for every school to enable children to do the experiments themselves. The programme currently focuses on teachers of classes VIII and IX.

“We are taking efforts to help students understand scientific concepts by making learning sessions more joyful and engaging. We encourage students to discover answers through experimentation and self-questioning”, he said.

The training programme at Kuppam was organised with the support of IBM and EZVidya.

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Meera SrinivasanJune 28, 2012