New Delhi: Last Friday, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) sent a list of 75 science experiments to all its affiliated schools, allowing students of Classes 9 and 10 to perform them at home. The list, curated by the academic section of the CBSE, was drawn up to deal with the loss of practical studies during school closure for the pandemic, and has been lauded by teachers as a step towards “self-learning”.
According to the CBSE, the 75 experiments in the list can be performed with raw materials that are readily available at home, and are “safe” for learners to perform on their own. The board has, however, clarified that as yet, there are no plans to come up with similar experiments for Classes 11 and 12.
“What the board has introduced are all simple experiments that students can perform at home. It’s a welcome step; it will help them with self-learning,” said Meenakshi Iyer, science teacher at DAV Public School, Faridabad.
Nishant Agarwal, who teaches science to students in Class 9 and 10 at a government school in Delhi, concurred, but added that there should be a similar provision for Class 11 and 12 too. “There are some experiments that senior classes can also perform at home. The board should come up with a list of experiments for them as well,” he added.
Parents such as Rekha Sharma, a science teacher for junior classes who has a son studying in Class 10, have also welcomed the initiative. “The idea of at-home experiments is good. Students will be exposed to doing everything, from finding the raw products for their practicals, to setting up the apparatus on their own,” she said, adding that she too advises her students to perform simple science experiments at home.
Which experiments are on the list?
Students of Classes 9 and 10 will not have to come to school to perform simple experiments like evaporation, filtration, and studying plant cells anymore. They will be able to do these at home with the help of tutorials from the CBSE.
“The CBSE has curated a set of alternate experiments using simple, readily available household materials that learners can use to do these activities at their homes. The hands-on activities have been designed to have similar learning outcomes for all the lab experiments required to be done in 2021-22 for Class 9 and 10,” the notice issued on 29 October read.
The board has also recommended a list of additional activities to be performed by students as part of their practical education.
The CBSE added that all the activities that have been included in the list are safe for learners to perform on their own. “While the activities and materials have been chosen to be safe for learners to do on their own, teachers are required to review these before assigning them and advise parents if supervision is required for any specific activity. CBSE would be providing an online training on the usage of these activities, details of which will be intimated separately,” the circular added.
For example, one of the practicals includes finding the pH value of acid and base substances by using pH paper/universal indicator. Students have been asked to conduct the experiment using things like turmeric powder, sodium bicarbonate (commonly known as baking soda), and lemon, which are easily available at home. A detailed YouTube video by CBSE’s academic unit gives step-by-step instructions on how to perform the experiment and a detailed worksheet attached with the experiment tells students what values they need to note.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)