Nothing happens in nature by chance. Everything is science, i.e. it is validated - time and again, put to test under different conditions and validated from time to time. Everything is relation between cause and effect.
We may be ignorant about the cause or effect but all the same cause causes the effect and every effect has a cause. Hence, learning anything is establishing cause and effect relationship. When cause and effect is within child’s comprehension sphere, conceptualization becomes easy.
Activity based approach
Any subject, for that matter, can be taught with a number of different approaches. Coming to Science or Environmental Studies, “Activity based approach “ tops the list. The child being the performer, sense of involvement and thereby commitment increases.
Being active means being alert, prepared and focused. Hence activity oriented learning is the most effective way of learning. Teaching and learning go hand in hand in this approach. It answers all the W’s related to the topic like when, where, why, what, and how.
Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I. But it can be felt and understood. Likewise, the topics in science can’t be seen but need to be felt and comprehended. For example if air is the lesson to be tackled, one should get the experience of the presence of air, its properties and reactions.
A series of activities within the working knowledge of he child should be carefully selected. The activities change for the same topic for different ages of children.
For class 1, if the child is made to run with a pinwheel, class 5 student will be made to observe the moving objects, chiming bell, bending grass, and drying of clothes. The child should be a partner of the experience, i.e. s/he should perform the activity and not be a mere spectator.
The same activity will change in higher classes for rocket propelling. Without activity, teaching science is mere sound bytes that only get mixed with the umpteen sound bytes of the surroundings and gets muffled up.
This leads to confusion in understanding of the concept. If just the activity is done by the child, and not put into trial in real life situation it is waste of a period of class. As per the child, s/he has enjoyed the class, and allowed to move about without written task and boring lecture session. Then, what is the remedy?
Application of knowledge
The follow up of the activity is of prime importance, i.e. s/he should look for happenings around him/her based on the concept learnt in the class through the activity. He should enlist related activities and his conclusion there by and discuss with his classmates and teacher to verify whether his understanding is correct.
Further the children should get the orientation by the teacher to apply the same concept/ improvise it and make a small project preferably in a group. Group project is preferred because knowledge sharing, and division of work simplifies the task. That is the very reason why the “National Children’s Science Congress” is working in this direction to help children get clear vision and there by to reach the mission or goal that is set by himself.
Along with this if idea that is concrete can be mind mapped, then the learning becomes concrete and longlasting. Mind mapping is the latest technique that gives visual clarity to the idea that can be extrapolated, classified, grouped and so forth. It is like the shaft of the umbrella to which various learning experiences can be considered as the strings are attached.
When the child becomes capable of linking the strings one by one, year by year, activity-by-activity, then the child will be able to broaden his/her outlook and learns to see the same concept in different happenings/ changes around. This again adds to his experience yet another string of the umbrella or a subdivision of the one of the strings. These ideas need not be rigid. They should be flexible to change as per the situation.
It is rightly said, “I hear I forget. I see, I remember. I do, I learn .I do follow up, I get vision and succeed in my mission.”