Imagine my surprise when a 9th grader explains a 12th grade topic in class!
The setting was my session at NumberNagar® with three students – one each from grades 9, 10, and 12. All three of them come for class at overlapping times and for the same subjects – Maths and Science. We generally discuss difficulties regarding conceptual understanding and doubts related to problems and how to solve them. These sessions are open ended and usually bring a lot of meaningful learning among the team. This happens in addition to the specific school-related work each one does in the session.
During the discussion of dual nature of light, we hit the topic of Doppler effect. Before I could organise my thoughts for the discussion with the 12th grader, the 9th grader jumped out of his seat and said, “I know Doppler effect”. He also made a weird nasal sound of the Doppler whistle. He then explained the scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory. In the series, the lead character Sheldon Cooper’s Halloween costume is the Doppler effect representation for sound waves.
The power of connections:
I was stumped by this connection. It led me to wonder how the brain makes these connections. Especially how a TV series has left an impact on this student’s mind regarding a scientific principle. This indicates that learning is never unidirectional, the brain gets ideas from various sources – books, movies, cartoons. Though we believe that spending too much time in front of TV is bad, it makes me think. Should we educate our children on why and what to watch rather than asking them to stop watching TV altogether?
Since we are on the topic of association of our memories, I remember the Star Trek series on TV. Today I can relate to so many inventions around me. The flip phone, the ion engine that propelled Temple 1 satellite to a comet, the touch screen, even Mangalyaan that were just fantasies decades ago, are now realities.
This event during my session sparked a lot of thoughts in my mind about teaching itself. I use a lot of videos and movie clips for concept clarity in my sessions. Despite that, I have not received such a direct feedback of connectivity from my students before.
Would it be good to encourage students to watch a science-based series? Because this is entertainment and not studying, it provides a fertile fodder for the brain to make connections.
I think we should try anything and everything that makes learning a meaningful experience for students. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments section
Sheldon Cooper costume – http://bigbangtheoryshirts.blogspot.com/2011/12/sheldons-doppler-effect-costume-in.html
Sriraghavan S M
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