Activities in Environmental Studies - Syllabus and Study Material
Activities in Environmental Studies: Since the dawn of civilization man has sought to enrich his life by engaging in a variety of activities. Only recently, however, has new educator does not want the child to acquire merely the results of other people’s thinking. He rather wants him to forge for himself the knowledge and skills necessary to deal effectively with the situations of real life.
Type of Activities
For extending social studies understandings and enriching its programme the social studies teacher can capitalize upon the following types of activities:
- Research Activities
- Construction and Processing Activities
- Creative Activities
There are compelling reasons for making activities an integral part of social studies:
- Activities give life to an area of learning. They give it colour. They give it interest. They convert passive, vicarious learning into dynamic, meaningful experiences. They clarity and illumine meaningless abstractions. They recapitulate and reinforce learning.
- There is a strong drive in the children to contrive, to make something in their image of the real thing; two crossed sticks for an aeroplane, a tunnel of blocks or a house of wet sand are common instances. The reality of the constructed object is in the builder’s mind and not necessarily in the appearance of the object. It is the doing and the imagining that are important to the child.
- Activities satisfy the urge of curiosity in the children. Children are immensely curious about how things work; they want to see inside, to shake, to pull and to separate. Many of the questions and problems raised by children in social studies can best be answered by direct participation in research, construction or creative activities.
- Activities stimulate children to experiment with materials as they put into from objects or processes in which they are interested. In some situations, children can investigate substitutes for unavailable materials and experience occasionally the discovery of a new process. Activities of varied types offer frequent challenges to pupil ingenuity.
- Activities open up opportunity for children to identify and nurture their creative potential. They expand children’s interest in creative ways. Talents lying dormant in some pupils are discovered.
- Activities develop a new appreciation for process and products, children today enjoy a vast supply of object and materials acquired with no effort on their part. They are rather far removed from the industries and crafts that provide most of the comforts of daily living. Only through actual participation in production can children begin to sense the social significance of a product and principles basic to its development. Even though a child’s techniques may differ somewhat from commercial or professional procedures,’ he can identify himself with the process or construction to feel its requirements and have respect for its results.
- Activities offer unsurpassed experience in working and learning together. Children become more capable of sustained participation in a group and more aware of the values of group effort. Different types of activities provide the environment and motivation for the practice of group process skill.
Thus for several reasons, activities are an important part of every effective social studies programme. To omit such experience is to neglect a valuable avenue to social studies learnings.
Experimentation and Practical Work
Generally experiments and practical working used by students in and outside the classroom. Many things related to environmental science may be learn through day to day experiences.
Human mind is always busy in the persuit of exploring the unknown. This process of the fulfillment of the spirit of enquiry or the modalities adopted in diving deep into the complexities of nature may be termed as science.
Man by his keen observation and faculty of reasonings has come to the conclusion and affirmed that there cannot be any event in nature without any reasons. There is a universal law of ‘cause and effect’. It there is an epidemic of disease there must be a cause for it. Man wondered, how day and night are found that day and night are caused due law of cause and effect, he found that day and night are caused due to the rotation of the earth round its axis. In this way the search for the causes of natural phenomena and other events has been the function of science.
May by his intelligence has always been making efforts to adjust himself to the realm of nature to his own advantage. He has always been trying to harness the forces of nature for his own comfort and safety. These efforts have taken the shape of scientific method and form the bases of all sciences as something that is known to exist or happen, the existence or happening of which is supported through some source. Now the question arises whether or not every fact so known can be termed as scientific facts. Surely, it can’t be so. A fact can be described as scientific method. The source of information and the method employed in deducing the result should be sufficient scientific for terming a simple fact into a scientific fact. It is why scientific fact is considered as highly reliable, valid and objective in comparison to a simple fact. However, on account of our ignorance or erecting our finding on the defective source of information or adopting an improper and faulty method in deriving conclusion, we often accept certain conclusions as fact which infect are quite untrue and far from reality. The beliefs that earthworms fall to the earth along with the showers of the rain and the bite off a chameleon is poisonous are examples of such untrue and unscientific facts which do not follow any scientific approach in their derivations. The hollowness of such facts can be observed through their popper verification resting on the adequate scientific grounds involving personal observation and experimentation etc.
Their face value can also be judged through the response of some basic questions like following:
- Are you definite about its truth and reliability?
- How can you prove it?
- Has anybody actually observed or experienced it?
- Has the person who told it to you observed or experienced it himself or was told about it by someone else?
In this connection it will not out of place to repeat here that an idea or information collected from whatever sources should not be accepted as scientific fact unless it has been observed personality by our sense organs or until it has not been tested and verified through some proper experimentation. In this way scientific fact must be considered as quite distinct and different from the general notions and facts common to masses.
Now, let us think about the nature and degree of truth that is to be expected from the scientific facts. Should we expect a cent per cent purity and exactness like two and two makes four ‘in terms of their truthfulness’? The answer in straightforwardly no. The truth of the scientific facts is always dynamic, tentative and provisional instead of being static can be declared as partially true or untrue on the basis of the findings and research conducted further in that field and in this way scientific facts are always open to be replaced by the newly discovered facts based on scientific findings. For example, once, it was believed that earth was round like a ball. But now it has been proved that it is flattened at the poles. Similarly, the speed of the revolution of the earth has also been corrected from 184125 miles per second to 186908 miles per second.
In this way scientific facts are neither too far from the reality and pure truth like the general notions and simple facts nor they are absolutely eternal, fixed and static like the naked truth. They are always open to further verification and subjected to further observation, experimentation and research. Consequently they are liable to be modified or changed in the light of sufficient evidence and this must always be regarded as flexible and dynamic instead of being static and final.