Pune: When a batsman hits a six, the quadratic equation helps to understand the angles, while teaching physics in sports.
Similarly, in the periodic table, if stories of each element mentioned in the periodic table are narrated, it becomes easy for students to remember their names and properties. For example, gold’s initial is ‘Au’ and not ‘Go’ because its scientific name is Aurum.
This is the method adopted by two city-based teachers, who call themselves ‘edutainers’. They are Rajat Agarwal and Prakhar Jain, founders of ‘Being Jigyaasu’, to teach their students.
"We use examples of different sports and apply formulas and theories from physics and try to make it easier and simple to learn for students," they said.
Agarwal and Jain both left their lucrative jobs at multinational companies and started teaching at a coaching class of IIT-JEE, four-and-half years ago. During their classes, they realised that students aspiring to be engineers are bound in traditional learning and lack the quality of being ‘jigyaasu’ (inquisitive).
“We felt students lacked fundamental knowledge of science and mathematics. They know about the subjects, but have low interest in it. They are probably well-versed with the theories of science and maths, but do not know its applications, because they have not given a thought to it beyond their books,” said Agarwal.
This led to the inception of their initiative ‘Being Jigyaasu’, which aims at motivating students to be more curious and create a rational perspective to challenge the concepts being taught. The session includes questions like ‘If the boiling point of water means the temperature at which water turns into water vapour and it is 100 degrees, then water spilt on the floor also gets converted into water vapour at 27 degrees Celsius. According to this, it can be concluded that water boils at 27 degrees Celsius. How?’
“Whatever theories are being taught in books, we actually deal with it regularly but we only need to develop observation skills. For example, every home has a chemistry lab, a kitchen, where we have acid, base and salt. We use all of these bases on a regular basis in cooking by measuring the amount of combination. Hence, we have a subject called ‘chemistry in kitchen,” said Jain.
Agarwal and Jain believe that instead of giving career counselling to students based on a computer test of three-hours, students must be given a taste of all subjects rationally and all the children should be allowed to judge their career paths by themselves.
Today they have reached around 2,000 students with their unique and innovative teaching skills in three months. They started their journey by gathering students through their social media page and conducting stand-up science’ sessions at cafeterias. At present, Agarwal and Jain are teaching students of Millennium National School and Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)-run Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay English Medium School.
What do the principals and teachers say?
“Agarwal and Jain have been conducting sessions twice a week for past two months and we have noticed a change in the students' ability to ask questions. They are now intrigued to learn more and curious about every subject they are studying.
The number of students asking questions in the class has also increased, unlike earlier. Being Jigyaasu has come as a great help,” said Elizabeth Kakade, Principal of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay English Medium School.
The principal of Millennium National School, Radhika Vaidya also gets a similar feedback from her children. “After their first session, we observed an enthusiasm and interest among students regarding the subjects they are learning and they have become more inquisitive. Although it is too early to comment on their academic progress, there has been a change in way of their thinking. Our motive is to cultivate curiosity among students and provide them with a platform to choose their career wisely.”