Science on wheels takes nature to children

January 25th, 2009 - 9:35 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 25 (IANS) It transports science and its marvels literally to the doorstep. Life-sized models of dinosaurs, rare fossils, ancient manuscripts and models on the evolution of life are being taken to various schools in the city and around through mobile exhibition vans stirring an interest among children not seen so far.In a unique initiative to educate children about natural history and sensitise them about nature, a bus of the Government Museum and Art Gallery here is taking the exhibits to schools in Chandigarh, Panchkula and Mohali.

“We are taking the exhibition to both private and public schools and the students’ response is really great. We found that most children were not aware about the existence of the museum in their city; so the mobile exhibition is really useful,” Navjot P.S. Randhawa, director of the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh, told IANS.

The government museum is holding the exhibitions in collaboration with the department of geology, Panjab University (PU). An instructor accompanies the exhibition to answer the queries of students.

“We are planning to take the exhibition to slum areas soon. We will hold exhibitions, quizzes and various competitions related to nature among slum children in the coming days,” stated Randhawa.

Talks are on to take the exhibition to neighbouring Punjab and Haryana states too.

A.D. Ahluwalia, chairperson of the department of geology, PU, and coordinator of the exhibitions, told IANS: “We always make it a point to make our exhibitions informative as well as interesting. Our main motive is to excite the curiosity and interest of children in the subject.”

“In our exhibition on dinosaurs, we have shown rare fossils of dinosaur eggs, bones and teeth. Children will learn how dinosaurs lived, died and how their traces were preserved as fossils and this will automatically generate interest in the topic among the kids,” said Ahluwalia.

“We have made it mandatory to change the theme of the exhibition whenever we visit the same school again. The topics could be on stones, plant fossils, animal fossils, butterflies, earth, nature or birds,” pointed out Ahluwalia.

The initiative has seen an overwhelming response with teachers and students in Chandigarh asking for more such activities.

“These exhibitions are quite educative, they take us to the world of yesteryears about which we cannot even imagine. They also help us understand various concepts of geography and biology,” said Vedanth Sharma, a Class 9 student of a government school in Chandigarh.

“It was a great opportunity to see the rare fossils and the life-size models of dinosaurs in my school, as I have not visited the museum so far. It made me realise that there are so many things to learn; so now I have made it a point to visit the museum at least once in a month with my friends,” said Arushi, a student of Class 11.

Ashish Sharma, a biology teacher, told IANS: “The best part of the project is that all the exhibits are so self-explanatory and are accompanied with sufficient literature answering everything about them. We really want more such activities in our school premises.”

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