The miles to go before I sleep...

  • Start teaching science at school and incorporate demo
  • Research, design, implement comprehensive teaching module on science, civic sense
  • Interview social change agents working @ ground level
  • Pilot peer-to-peer teaching programme

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Wonders of Physics

Remember those days at school? Understanding how things work was an option as against a necessity. To put it correctly, it was relegated to being an option because of another necessity. Scoring! I remember my teacher standing under the blackboard and actually telling us "If yo u don't understand, Memorize!". That clearly defined the priority for us. To make things worse, we had a live example in the rank-holder. Irrespective of his/her understanding of the subject, he/she universally memorizes. Besides, we are left at the mercy of diagrams in science books that leave much to our ability to imagine, and the lab experiments that don't relate to what we study in the classroom to understand. In many ways, understanding was not even an option. Further still, which other subject apart from, may be, mathematics had any content to be understood?

English, Tamil: A bunch of poems to be memorized. For prose, the answers to the questions were always a couple of paragraphs..and some grammar to be remembered. Done!
Social studies: Memorize! Its a collection of stories, dates and names anyway.
Science was cat-on-the-wall. Some you understand, some you don't. But never mind. Go the social studies way!

Such an attitude bothered me even as a kid though I didn't know what to do to understand other than read the book again. Honestly, I really didn't think about how "understanding" is really going to help me in the future! I never had a future beyond the upcoming exam then! :) Looking back, the worst feeling I have is, I didn't even realize that science can actually be understood deeply.

Now, after reaching a stage when all those years of "darkness" won't matter anymore, (not to mention the lamenting so far...) it is still gratifying to know that someone is working to bring science in its natural form right to the people who needed it the most. Kids!

"The Wonders of Physics" is a series of demonstrations on various concepts of classical physics like light, sound, pressure, heat. The credit for this initiative goes to Professor Clint Sprott of The University of Wisconsin-Madisson. The videos taped during his demonstrations buffers for free online! You don't really need to have a kid who is struggling with understanding science to watch these videos! You can wash your sins that you were forced to commit in your school days even now. Its never too late! :)

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