12. Co-curricular Activities in Science – Methodology of Teaching Science

12

Co-curricular Activities in Science

CHAPTER OUTLINE
LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of co-curricular activities in science

  • Discuss the various types of co-curricular activities in science

  • Explain the organization and administration of co-curricular activities in science

  • List the difficulties faced in the organization of co-curricular activities in science

  • Suggest measures to overcome these difficulties

  • Organize co-curricular activities in schools

INTRODUCTION

Inclusion of co-curricular activities in the syllabus of school teaching is not a new concept. This is as old as the education itself. One of the main aims of education is to develop an individual into a well-balanced harmonious personality. This aim cannot be achieved only by the academics. A pure academician is by and large a lop-sided personality. Therefore, co-curricular activities are being increasingly and intelligently designed and promoted for the purpose of wholesome personality development, good citizenship, character education, manners and courtesy. Co-curricular activities also provide scope for democratic living; develop social skills, a sense of co-operation, team spirit and self discipline. In science subject, some of the important co-curricular activities are science fair, science club, science tour and science museum.

SCIENCE FAIRS/EXHIBITION

Science fair is an important activity to present the efforts of science students to others. A science fair develops a scientific attitude and interest among the people involved. Young students get a chance to meet the people of all ages and present their projects to them. This exposure to varied group of people acts as an impetus to the growth and development of their talent. Science fairs and exhibitions should be an annual feature of the school. Further, intra-school fairs and exhibitions can also be organized. Besides projects, science fairs can have many other types of activities which are debates, talks by experts, group discussions, essay competitions, quiz, film shows, puppet shows, etc. (Figure 12.1)

 

 

Figure 12.1 Some Activities of a Science Fair

I. Objectives of Science Fairs

  • To encourage public interest in science
  • To develop scientific hobbies and creativity among students
  • To encourage and motivate the students to try out their ideas into exhibits and projects
  • To develop relationship between parents, society and school
  • To identify and give impetus to young scientists
  • To create awareness about the correlation between science and daily life

II. Organization of a Science Fair

Science fair is an interactive activity which needs to be planned well in advance. The various steps of organizing a science fair are:

  1. Planning: Planning involves taking decisions on the scope/area of the fair, the procedure, place, time, duration finances and other factors.
  2. Committee formation: Various committees need to be formed to look to different programmes of the fair. These committees may be advisory, executive, publicity, reception, recording, finance, etc. All the committees work under core committee which is chaired by the teacher in-charge.
  3. Implementation: All the planned aspects are implemented by the concerned committees. These aspects could be :
    • Venue is arranged and space is allotted to all the participants.
    • Time of the fair is decided and everything is publicized for the school and the general public as well.
    • Safety measures like first-aid and fire brigade are arranged.
    • Judges are selected for various events and criteria of judgment are decided.
    • Inauguration and closing of the fair is arranged properly.
    • Prizes are distributed to the winners in the closing ceremony.
SCIENCE MUSEUMS

Museums are those places where different objects and specimens are assembled, constructed, improvised, labeled and displayed. Museums can be organized for all the subjects, but here we are concerned with science museums. For science related objects, there are two types of museums—science museums and natural history museums. Along with this, there are science centers which are similar to the science museums. National Council of Science Museums takes care of 27 science centers/museums all over the country. Besides having permanent galleries, these centers/museums organize various science activities such as mobile science exhibition and fairs, science demonstration lectures, eclipse viewing training programmes, etc.

I. Objectives of a Science Museum

The purpose of a science museum should not be merely a visual aid, but it should also provide stimulation. The main objectives of organizing a science museum are :

  • To evoke a sense of curiosity in the students
  • To provide them with a variety of experiences
  • To develop an appreciation for the beauty of nature
  • To display and exhibit such objects or specimens which are difficult to be found
  • To present the complex processes in a simplified manner
  • To provide exposure of those objects to the students which are from other regions and are not found commonly.

II. Organization of a Science Museum

Every school can have a science museum of its own. Objects, specimens, materials can be collected by the students or can be bought by the school. A school science museum can have different sections on the basis of subjects such as botany, zoology, chemistry, etc. or on the basis of themes such as human evolution, under water exploration, genetics, etc. School science museums can function effectively by the co-operative efforts of students, teachers, school authorities and education department in the manner suggested below :

  1. School: School authorities will need to spend some money for the upkeep of the objects.
  2. Teachers: Teachers should encourage the students to collect material of scientific interest and improvise some apparatus. They can also divide the work and allocate it to some students.
  3. Students: Students should look after the museum and maintain it with the guidance of the teacher. Students can also contribute by helping in the labeling of exhibits. Each label should have the name of the exhibit, place from where it was collected, year of collection, brief description of the exhibit.
  4. Education department: The education department can provide needed help for setting up of a museum. Lectures or short-term courses can be arranged on the techniques of collection, preservation and systematic arrangement of the collected material.
SCIENCE CLUBS

The word ‘Science Club’ denotes association of young enthusiasts interested in furthering their knowledge of science through plethora of activities. In other words, a science club could be defined as a platform of young enthusiasts or young scientists to share acquired knowledge and to engage in creative activities in science for joy and understanding of scientific principles. Thus, science clubs in schools could be considered as an extension of classroom teaching for better understanding and application of knowledge. It also makes the task of a teacher easier in the classroom.

Science club is not a new concept. In the early 18th century, large numbers of literary clubs were existing in Britain and USA. Eminent scientists or educationists guided these clubs. Few of the early clubs like ‘Spalding Gentlemen's Society Club 1710–50’ founded by Maurice Johnson had members like Isaac Newton and Anders Celsius, Michael Faraday, Simon Laplace, Darwin, James Watt, Joseph Priestly who were actively associated with such clubs. Science Clubs are very popular in many countries even today. Reports suggest that students actively participating in science club activities perform better in science and pursue their careers in science and related fields.

I. Objectives of Science Clubs

  • To develop creativity among students
  • To enable the students to apply their knowledge of science into daily life situations
  • To encourage critical thinking
  • To inculcate scientific attitude and provide opportunities for training in scientific method
  • To develop interest in scientific hobbies like photography
  • To have healthy academic interaction between the students and science teachers
  • To motivate the students to work in cooperation with each other

II. Organization of a Science Club

A science club consists of members interested in science and chosen from various classes of the school following suitable criteria (Figure 12.2). An active teacher who volunteers and is enthusiastic about science club programme normally initiates and guides the club. An advisor of the club could be adopted from the local scientific community. It should be the teacher's constant endeavor and earnest desire to distribute the responsibilities to members and provide necessary guidance and lead. The success of the club largely depends on the initiatives of the teacher and cooperation of the members. To begin a club following points should be kept in mind :

 

 

Figure 12.2 Organization of a Science Club

  • Formulation of the constitution.
  • Formation of science club council which is generally constituted of a president, a secretary, a treasurer and class representatives. Role of the teacher also includes:
    1. Deciding the numbers and qualification of the members
    2. Selecting the members
    3. Stating the conditions of membership
    4. Deciding the fees/contribution
    5. Making the programme schedule
    6. Listing the activities (weekly/monthly/quarterly/half yearly/yearly)
    7. Arranging the space for activities of the club
  • Select a suitable name for the science club.
  • Procure basic hardware and furniture for the club room and basic raw materials for the activities.

III. Activities of a Science Club

Science club members can engage in a variety of activities throughout the year. Some of the activities and investigatory projects that can be undertaken by the club are given below:

Geological Study Aero-modeling Model Building
Star Gazing Film Shows Science Bulletin Board
Laboratory Maintenance Telescope Making Conservation
Weather Observation Model Rocketry Pet Care
Inter Class Quizzes And Debates Science Projects Field Trips
Annual School Exhibition Photography Nature Study
Mechanical Modeling Guest Lectures Electronic Hobby
Science Publication Science Career Guidance Science Centre / Museum
Parent Meeting Science Drama, Skits, etc. Drinking Water Sampling
Investigatory Projects SurveyCommunityHealth Programme Assess Housing Problems
Science New Cataloguing Conduct Pollution Study

IV. Some Investigatory Projects of a Science Club

  • Conduct different tests for detecting adulteration in food and other consumer products.
  • Test acidity or alkalinity of soil and advice farmers accordingly.
  • Estimate nicotine and tar content of different brands of cigarettes.
  • Test water samples from different areas and investigate into the cause of pollution.
  • Conduct a survey on food habits in the locality and check for nutrition value in the average intake of food.
  • Set up a simple weather station in your school and try to forecast weather.
SCIENCE EDUCATIONAL TOUR

It is the visit of students accompanied by teachers to the places of historical, scientific, cultural, geographical, educational and national interests. Educational tours provide the real experience in natural settings and thus, widen the view points of students. They are able to acquire through knowledge by observation and imagination. An educational tour also leads to the development of cooperation, leadership, group living, etc. Thus, learning becomes more interesting, more accurate and meaningful by the participation of students in educational tours/excursion.

I. Objectives of Science Educational Tours

Following are the main objectives of a science educational tour:

  • To provide first hand observation and experience
  • To provide knowledge regarding all those things which cannot be shown in the class rooms easily
  • To create an interest in scientific subjects
  • To draw conclusions from the exercise conducted in a natural environment
  • To develop the desire among students to understand their responsibilities and fulfill them
  • To develop the observation power of students
  • To teach the students how to make a proper/good use of a vacation

II. Organization of a Science Educational Tour

Organizing an educational tour is a responsible job. All the jobs should be distributed equally in a congenial atmosphere. All the information should be given to the students before the commencement of the journey. Various steps of the tour organization are as follows :

  1. Planning: The visits should be planned by joint and prolonged consultation between the teacher, students and other well informed persons. They have to be wisely conceived, properly planned, and carefully conducted. Important points in planning are :
    • The organizers must obtain sufficient information before hand about the places to be visited so that the guidelines for observation, collection specimens, taking photographs, etc., are worked out and conveyed to the students in anticipation.
    • The difficulties likely to arise may also be guessed and necessary arrangements should be made in advance.
    • The queries likely to crop up may also be enlisted for getting clarifications on the spot.
    • Responsible and sincere students should be nominated as group leaders to facilitate the conduct of the tour. It is better if the group leaders possess some prior information about the places being visited.
    • The maintenance of discipline during a visit is very important for its success.
  2. Execution: The teacher supervises the tour during the visit. He/she should ensure that everything is taking place as planned and that the instructions are being followed. The teacher also directs the attention of pupils to the important things and makes sure that the pupils are getting all the desired information.
  3. Follow up and evaluation: Every activity is useless if not evaluated at the end. After coming back, the tour should be evaluated in terms of its objectives. The experiences of students can be put forward through discussion, sharing, etc. Loopholes or draw backs should be noted so that they are not repeated the next time.
IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS FOR PLANNING CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Listed below are certain points which should be kept in mind while planning for co-curricular activities in science :

  • There should be a need of the activity.
  • An activity should be selected in such a way that maximum students can participate.
  • Students should be involved at all the stages of planning.
  • Class room learning should be enhanced by the activity.
  • Activities should fit into the school time table as far as possible.
  • There should not be too much economic burden on the school.
  • The objectives of the activities should be clearly defined.
  • Various committees should be formed and work must be allotted on the basis of the abilities of the students.
  • There should be participation by teachers, principal, parents, community, etc.
  • There should be proper recording of the activities.
  • Proper rules and regulations should be framed and followed by all.
  • The best participant should be identified and appreciated.
ROLE OF A TEACHER IN SCIENCE CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

A teacher acts as a planner, leader, organizer, recorder, evaluator, advisor, coordinator, manager, etc. during the co-curricular activities in science. (Figure 12.3)

 

 

Figure 12.3 Role of the Teacher in Organizing Co-curricular Activities

 

A teacher should never presume that everything will work out smoothly as planned. Many difficulties come up during the implementation stage. Problems may be related to equipments, electricity, venue, finance, etc., but a teacher should be able to find a solution. Most of the time, financial deficit becomes a major cause of worry. But, a teacher must remember that activities can be organized with minimum of finance. Debates, quiz, skits do not need finance. Further, for exhibition, students can be asked to bring items from their home and which they can take back at the end. A teacher should be competent and resourceful to manage the activities. Thus, one teacher can perform the role of many persons.

SUMMARY
  1. Co-curricular activities in science are as important as the academics.
  2. Co-curricular activities in science help in the development of the wholesome personality of the students.
  3. Some important co-curricular activities in science are:
    • Science fairs
    • Science museums
    • Science clubs
    • Science educational tours
  4. Each activity has its objectives and is organized by the schools for their achievements.
  5. Various points should be kept in mind while planning co-curricular activities in science.
  6. A teacher acts as a planner, leader, organizer, recorder, evaluator, advisor, coordinator, manager, etc. during the co-curricular activities in science.
QUESTIONS
  1. Justify the inclusion of co-curricular activities in science.
  2. Name different types of co-curricular activities in science and their uses.
  3. What are the objectives of science fairs? How can they be organized efficiently?
  4. How can science museums contribute to science learning?
  5. What is the importance of educational tours in science teaching?
  6. What are the different activities and investigatory projects which can be undertaken by science clubs?
  7. Write short notes on:
    • Science fairs
    • Science museums
    • Science clubs
    • Science educational tours
  8. What precautions should be taken before organizing different types of co curricular activities in science?
  9. Discuss the role of teacher in the organization of co curricular activities in science.