National Geographic Channel helps kids develop covalent bonds with science with a new series, says Anuj Kumar
In NCERT books there is an activity column in each chapter which suggests how the particular theory can be put to practical use. Usually, teachers don't take the pain to help students put these activities into practice. Now National Geographic Channel, in association with Ministry of Science & Technology, has come up with the idea of making simple scientific activities exciting and accessible to school children through a series called “Science Mein Twist”.
Once Doordarshan used to monopolise this territory and it's heartening to find private players enter a field where profit is not always the first criterion. Rajesh Sheshadri, senior vice president, Content and Communication, National Geographic Channel, says, “The channel aims to inspire a life-long passion in children for learning by cultivating curiosity and wonder about the world and generate awareness, concern and knowledge about the planet by offering smart and reliable factual entertainment, featuring science and technology, animals and nature, exploration and culture.” While the production inputs have come from the channel, the Ministry has contributed in scientific knowhow and expertise. Doordarshan is not entirely out of the picture as the public broadcaster will telecast the series in regional languages.
Sheshadri says Science Mein Twist is a fun way to approach science that will resonate with children all over. “Though anybody can watch it, we have designed the series keeping in mind the science curriculum of 6th to 8th standards. It is an attempt to make science stimulating and interesting for school children and encourage them to pursue it at the higher education level and subsequently as a career.”
He cites the first India Science Report released by National Council of Applied Economic Research to make his point. The report says students seem less inclined in pursuing pure science when it comes to a higher degree. The percentage of students interested in pure science drops from 22 per cent in 6 to 8 levels to 13.4 per cent among students in class 11 and 12.
The ten-part series is showcased on weekdays on the Nat Geo Junior time band. The show is hosted by teenagers, Aavik and Khyati, who are bitten by the curiosity bug and set out to explore different aspects of science. In their journey, they play scientific pranks on one another, meet experts, visit labs, factories and even go on a trek.
The series covers different topics varying from sound to space, from genetics to geo-science to excite children into exploring career options in science. “The focus is on experiments that could be done at home without elaborate arrangements like how a waterwheel is used to grind flour and generate electricity.
The series also attempts to show that science is universal and not just for the city child. There are interesting aspects of science in villages that have been showcased as part of the show,” says Sheshadri, who plans to take the series to schools across the country.
A documentary too
The channel will also showcase a documentary, Cutting Carbon, which takes up the issue of global warming and attempts to encourage individuals to do their bit to save the planet. “The film will work to reinforce one's moral and social responsibility towards planet earth. The documentary will showcase an average Indian family and how they start following greener and more environmentally friendly processes at home. By doing so, the family realises that they are not only leading a much healthier lifestyle but also saving money.”