Joys of Toys- Innovative Science Learning

Toy Making Workshop – Assam, 18–19 October 2016

Would you allow your child to play with toys in the classroom? You would if your child learns science from toys. The Toy-Making module of the CLIx project combines scientific theories with hands-on toy-making activities to make learning enjoyable.

Under the Integrated approach to Technology in Education (ITE) project, a pilot toy-making workshop was conducted for Assam secondary school teachers. The workshop was organized by Gram Vikash Manch (GVM), Nalbari, Assam, in collaboration with TISS, Mumbai and MIT, USA. It was conducted by Manish Jain of Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics with Shamin Padalkar and Sheetal of TISS. Around 48 school teachers and GVM volunteers participated.

Teachers explaining air pressure

Teachers made three toys—flute, sprinkler and spinner—using straws. Many teachers saw such use of straws for the first time and enjoyed the experience. They discussed the scientific principles underlying these activities. All other toys in the module were explained and demonstrated.

Teacher showing DNA helix model

Two video-based activities followed. First, teachers saw videos of DNA helix and bird in a cage model. Then they tried to make these toys. Learning about DNA helix happend during the process of making structure of DNA model with straws and cellophane tape. Teachers displayed strong competitive spirit while engaged in these activities.

The following day, teachers used textbooks to determine the science concepts used in these activities. They also discussed if the activities would be helpful in teaching the science syllabus.

In feedback, the experienced teacher Vishnu said, “I have seen hands-on activities for the first time in my career of 29 years. I enjoyed myself and learnt a lot from this workshop.” He advised young teachers to use such innovative methods to teach the next generation. Another teacher praised the flute and magnet activities. He assured that he would use them in his class.

 

[Sheetal, Science team, CLIx]

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