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Re-discovering science in the capmus

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All ears: Dr. S. Rajasekharan enlightening students.
All ears: Dr. S. Rajasekharan enlightening students.

SANGEETHA UNNITHAN

The three-day science workshop enlightened students about biodiversity in a fun and thought-provoking way.

For the 140 little science enthusiasts, selected from across the state, the science workshop organised by Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan at Kerala University campus at Kariavattom recently, turned out to be a chance to re-discover science.

For once, it was goodbye to books and welcome to interesting on-field trips and experiments as the students scouted the sprawling University campus making their own little discoveries.

All about diversity

Organised as part of the Galileo Little Scientist programme of SSA, the three-day residential children's science workshop ‘Shasthrotsavam 2010' included students studying between Std V and IX and selected from district level science workshops across the State. Around 60 teachers also participated in the workshop which had the focal theme of biodiversity, in connection with the International Year of Biodiversity.

The workshop was conducted in association with six University departments, viz, Department of Botany, Zoology, Biotechnology, Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, Centre for Bioinformatics and Environmental Science. Faculty and resource persons of these departments guided the students in conducting on-field experiments and preparing projects on various interesting topics of biodiversity.

Some of the topics on which students prepared their projects were ‘Diversity of fruits in Kariavattom campus', ‘Diversity of floral arrangements in plants', ‘Diversity of reproductive methods in plants', ‘Biodiversity studies using remote sensing techniques', ‘Body design in big cats', ‘Tail shape in fish and their energy efficiency', ‘Diversity of sea shells of Thiruvananthapuram coast' and ‘Identification of indicator plants for air pollution'.

“This way they will be able to learn science by exploring, observing and evolving their own methods and even tools,” said SSA state programme officer Prassannakumar Pillai.

Mistakes we make

The workshop was inaugurated by Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) scientist S. Rajasekharan. Interacting with students at the function he said that although the under-developed and developing countries of the world are the richest in biodiversity, it is the advanced countries that exploit the biodiversity of these countries and reap its benefits.

“Biodiversity is essential to protect food security, economic security and health security. This was known to the founders of Ayurveda in India centuries back. Charaka Samhita, one of the basic texts of Ayurveda written in around two BC, discusses about phenomena like climate change and their impact on life,” he said.

SSA state project director K.V. Kunhikrishnan, who presided over the function, said that the basic reasons of all environmental problems we see around are systemic. “We are made to believe that we cannot live comfortably without certain things, like plastics for example, and then they become part of our life. It is only after realising the mistake that we take up campaigns to revert what we did,” he said.

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