small science

Teaching science and teaching it well... Not easy. Teaching it effectively. Really not easy. Teaching it in context and making children care... Impossible!
Well, almost. The books that we are blogging today are the amazingly well produced series called Small Science, and these make it possible to teach science to primary school children in a superbly effective manner. The books are brought out by the Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education in Mumbai. HBCSE is a part of the TIFR family of academic organizations (yes, there are several) and among the various things that they do, doing something about science education at the primary school level is one that they do very well.
The books come graded, and in 3 flavours: Textbooks, Workbooks and Teacher's Books. Grades 1 and 2 have a common Teacher's book, which, as the name suggests, helps the teacher draw on the world around him (or her) to make science alive to students as young as 5 or 6 years of age. The older students have textbooks and workbooks as well- and these are produced with care and effort, as are the Teachers's books. Each grade has a separate set, and as of now, there are books for Grades 3, 4 and 5. The authors of this remarkable series of books are Jayashree Ramadas, Jyotsna Vijapurkar, and their colleagues. All the books are available in translation, in Hindi (as the Halka Phulka Vigyan series) and Marathi (as Halke-Phulke Vidnyan). (Sorry about the awful transliteration: one of these days I'll learn how to blog in Devnagari...).

Some of the titles are available through Oxford University Press, and the Teacher Books are available as CDs as well. Check out the full range on our site, under Books, and look in the subsection titled For Children. The books are a great deal, not just because of what they contain, but also because they are seriously subsidised by the Government of India. Get them for your kids, but more importantly, get them for their teachers...

Comments

Jayashree said…
That's a nice review, thank you!

We've heard from quite a few teachers that they and their students have enjoyed using Small Science. These teachers were already primed to the idea of teaching science through inquiry. They were looking out for books to help them do it and were thrilled to find Small Science.

But most Indian teachers work in more traditional settings, dominated by exams, in which rote learning is the norm. How does Small Science work for them?

Jayashree Ramadas


Jayashree Ramadas
Monica said…
The traditional system can learn to transition from rote if their belief in the Small Science approach is strong enough.

I have met teachers who are getting students to maintain note books and conduct end of term exams while using the Small Science books.

It can be done, the will shall find the way.

Monica Sharma