Learning science & maths concepts in an interesting way : The Tribune India

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Learning science & maths concepts in an interesting way

Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar & CBSE's programme attracted 10 lakh viewers in 20 states in five episodes

Learning science & maths concepts in an interesting way

‘30-30 STEM’, an innovative online live education programme on promoting critical thinking of mathematics and science, has recently completed its first 30 days with an overwhelming response from across the country.

‘30-30 STEM’ was launched on August 16, 2020, by the Centre for Creative Learning (CCL) at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar (IITGN), in collaboration with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune (IISER Pune).

Prof Manish Jain giving demo in a class

 The 30-week programme, with live one-hour sessions every Sunday, has already attracted more than 10 lakh viewers only within the first five weekly sessions. The programme is being loved and watched by students, teachers, and parents with utmost zeal, who are spread across about 20 Indian states including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, and Kerala, among others.

 ‘30-30 STEM’ brings unique content every week to elicit the joy and inherent beauty in the curriculum of science and maths that is all around us. The programme aims to provide an online platform to teachers as well as students and their parents, to make STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning more engaging by breaking subject boundaries to create a sense of wonder from everyday life.

 The first five live sessions of the programme engaged the participants to explore some of the ‘boring and hard’ concepts of these subjects in the most innovative and experiential way.

The first session — ‘Adventures of A4 Sheet’, creatively explained how a paper could be used to understand the concepts of Area, Perimeter, Volume, Geometric Progression, Ratio and Proportion, Triangles, Octagon, Square and Square Root.

The second episode — ‘Find Your Lung Capacity’, used a plastic bag and a 3-in-1 easy to make toy to elucidate Bernoulli’s principle and concepts of Buoyancy, Air, Air Pollution, Atmospheric Air, Respiratory system, Lungs, Weight of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen, Weight of Air and Compressed Air, Vacuum, Weight and Mass, Velocity and Speed, and so on.

 The third session — ‘The Wonder of Calendar’, derived inspiration from calendars to make the participants learn Tangents, Leap Year, Magic Square and Rectangle, Average, Mean and Median, Sum of Rows and Columns, Arithmetic Progression, Hemchandra Series etc. in an easy to understand way.

The fourth episode — ‘The Science of Stars, Earth and Moon’, covered topics like Sun doesn’t rise in the east, four reasons for day and night, Why there is no solar or lunar eclipse every 27 days, Circumference of Earth, Speed of light, Equator, Why do we have Seasons, Orbit, Shape of Orbit, Distance of Sun from Earth, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, Foucault's Pendulum, Rotation of Galaxies, among others.

The session also made a comparison of masses or sizes of all planets of our solar system using dough! In the fifth episode on ‘Computational Thinking’, the team explained Language of Computers, Binary Counting on fingers, How a computer works, Long Division, Russian Multiplication with base ‘2’, and so on.     

 Sharing his feedback, one of the participants Subhash Thakur said, “This programme will definitely bring about a change in the teaching of science and maths. Prof Manish Jain, Main Facilitator of ’30-30 STEM, has given activation energy to a lot of teachers which will surely bring a paradigm shift in the methodology of teaching. The objective of teaching shouldn’t be only to create followers of knowledge; rather, it should be inspiring the young generation so that they can uncover the undiscoverable. This model of workshop should be adopted in the entire country.”

 Although this programme is focused on science and mathematics, many arts and humanities subjects teachers, students and common people are also joining and enjoying it. One such participant  Mamatesh Pawar from Baitul, Madhya Pradesh shared his excitement for the weekly sessions and said, “Sir, I am neither a teacher nor a student, but I am very much interested in Sscience. I get to learn new things from you on this programme. I feel I have become a child again, and I eagerly wait for Sunday. I have connected many children to the 30-30 programme, who watch it very keenly. Thank you for generating scientific thinking and interest in Science among children.”

 Sharing his thoughts and motivation behind this initiative, Prof Manish Jain, Associate Teaching Professor, IITGN said, “Through this programme, we try to unlock the beauty, magic, mystery of mathematics and science for the participants. We aim to make you fall in love with the subjects. We want these interesting things and concepts to reach to our teachers and through them to the students, who are the future of our country. Everyone is welcome to join the programme.”

 The next 25 weekly sessions will bring more interesting themes, topics, and puzzles such as combinatorics with playing cards; knowing our gut; how animals interact (to discover the science behind it); 3D visualisation with kheera (cucumber); ICT tool GeoGebra to understand the concepts of geometry, algebra, statistics and calculus; geometry with dough and broom-sticks, among others. The sessions generally cover the topics of class 6th to 12th, but the whole idea is to promote conceptual and creative thinking through hands-on exercises, stories and interdisciplinary study. Hence, besides teachers, students, and parents, anyone else with interest in the subjects can take benefit of it.

All the sessions are live on CCL YouTube channel and Vigyan Prasar’s channel on JIO TV every Sunday from 4 to 5 pm. These sessions would also be available on CCL’s YouTube channel for later viewing.

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