THE SCIENCE ACTIVITY CENTRE (SAC) OF SARDAR PATEL VIDYALAYA
Set up in 1984, the science Activity Centre at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, known throughout the school as SAC, seeks to involve children of the middle school (class 6, 7 and 8) in Science – related practical work in an informal way. In recent years, the work of SAC has been extended to the children of the classes 3,4 and 5 as well.
It is our belief that understanding and experiencing Science does not require formal laboratory-type experiments. In SAC we try to provide opportunities for the children
- To work with their own hands and acquire confidence in handling tools and materials.
- To carry out for themselves simple, improvised experiments – using easily available, inexpensive material – in order to illustrate the facts / laws of science which they study in their theory classes.
- To observe some demonstrations, carried out by their teachers, of experiments which they cannot carry out safely by themselves.
- To develop their skills of careful observation.
- To develop skills of systematic and precise recording.
- To develop other skills like measurement, estimation, classification, enquiry – obtaining and using information from a variety of sources, communicating and applying the knowledge learnt to other situations.
The idea of linking science with everyday items and materials of common use is the basic principle underlining the work done in SAC. Activities designed to clarify the concepts of the middle school science syllabus are first tested by the teachers before being carried out by the students. Also included are the activities which develop skills like listening, following instructions (written/oral) and learning to work in cooperative groups. The idea is to have “fun” while doing science.
Much learning can also take place if an experiment does not work and the student has to find out why. The teachers try out experiments themselves, well in advance and are prepared for all possible difficulties. However, during the activity sessions, they encourage students to find solutions for problems that may arise.
For example, early on, we realized that making an improvised bulb holder using a paper clip, wire and some insulation tape was better than providing the students with ready-made screw-type bulb holders for their experiments with simple circuits. When the bulbs did not light up, they were forced to find out why and this knowledge would server them well in performing experiments in the senior Laboratories.