Teaching Science Creatively

22 November 2014 In Blog Science
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Learning and teaching about theories was always very boring for me and my students.  I always tried to make these lessons interesting by using a range of different innovative ideas. These days we are learning about the teaching of ‘atomic structure’ in our B.Ed class. We discussed different theories related to the structure of the atom such as Dalton’s Atomic Theory, the J.J.Thomson Plum Pudding Model of an Atom, Rutherford’s Atomic Theory and Bohr’s Theory.  I asked my students to be very creative and make the learning of these theories simple and

interesting – to be innovative! They came up with different ideas but one idea was common in all the four presentations and that was the idea of ‘acting out’ what atoms do.  

Dalton says, “Atoms of the same elements are similar to one another and different from the atoms of the other elements.” For this, students were divided into 3 groups with 3 students in each group. The first group represented the Hydrogen atom, the second the Carbon atom, and the third group, the Sulphur atom. They were all given caps to wear of blue, black and yellow to make them look separate from one another.  

According to J.J Thomson’s Plum Pudding Model of an atom, “the electrons are spread in the atom just like the plums in the pudding. The electrons are negatively charged and the atom is positively charged.”  For this the students were made to stand in a circle to represent the boundary of the atom and a few students were in the centre of the circle standing randomly inside the circle to represent electrons.  

Rutherford’s theory says that the “major portion of the atom is empty and the mass lies in the centre”.  For this, one of the students was made to represent the nucleus of an atom. Four students stood in a row and they moved from one side of the nucleus to the other. The middle two students collided with the nucleus and went back whereas the two in the extreme left and right went straight forward. This demonstrated that the nucleus is the heaviest part of an atom and so the students were ‘bounced’ back.

Bohr’s Quantum Theory talks about the energy levels and the jumping of electrons across different energy levels. The students simulated this by revolving around the chair like an electron. The chair represented the nucleus of an atom.  One student gave a biscuit to the student and on eating the biscuit the student jumped from a lower energy level (first shell)  to the  higher (second or third)  shell and started moving faster. The biscuit represents the energy source.

The class ended with laughter and we all celebrated our creativity and innovative ideas!

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