This module covers the social/environmental/scienctific studies component of national/state curriculum for the relevant grades-classes, but in addition, this is meant to serve two purposes. First, the design and pedagogy of this module are meant to provide opportunities to children to learn by discovery method, to experience the ‘process part of learning’, besides acquiring the ‘product-knowledge’ per se.  Second, this module is designed to give opportunities to children to practice, sharpen and develop multiple human skills, asides from cognitive skills that tend to be the focus of the traditionally transected curriculum.

Project work component at Gyan Shala is based on the understanding that a child should not be treated as merely a storehouse of data and information fed by the books or teacher. Instead, a child should be enabled to acquire the knowledge by his/her own efforts. Such tasks are given to the child where s/he has to go through the process where s/he has to identify the source of information, collect it, record it systematically, analyze it, conclude or establish a relationship and report it. The child is also given an opportunity to communicate his/her views without unnecessary scrutiny.

The focus of this module is to help the child to acquire functional skills for

  • expression of his/her thoughts in oral, pictorial and written form without hesitation
  • raise questions
  • seek the required information
  • observe minutely/systematically
  • collect data and organize it in a systematic form
  • analyze/investigate the data to conclude or establish linkages
  • relate school learning with life experiences

Learning Attainment Goals

First Year

(Oral, pictorial and written expression of simple thoughts and life observations)

  • Child learns to draw simple shapes and color within a boundary
  • Child learns to draw the object-shapes on the basis of observation
  • Child makes a composite drawing to depict a theme
  • Depicts a short 3-4 sentence story in a pictorial form where the story is described by the teacher and copied by the child
  • Child is able to respond to open-ended questions about his life experiences.
  • Child starts to understand different facets of a given situation (lateral thinking)
  • Child learns the technique of detailed observation

(The topic coverage corresponds to national/state curriculum framework)

Second Year

  • Learns to systematically seek and collect information from various sources on a given task /topic
  • Learns to observe minutely & note down wherever required.
  • Learns to interpret data supplied in the tabular format.
  • Isolates the required information from the very large tabulated data
  • Interprets a line sketch of an area/community.
  • Learn to decipher different patterns and sequences & thus develops logic

(The topic coverage corresponds to national/state curriculum framework)

Third Year

  • More of 2nd Year exercises
  • Learns to draw up a plan / project / experiment to know /analyze the scientific / social facts
  • Learns to supply data in the tabular form
  • Learns to draw up a line sketch of his / her own community / area
  • Understand scientific facts and relationships covered in the course
  • Relate some of scientific theory/ facts to life observations

(The topic coverage corresponds to national/state curriculum framework)

Science Curriculum for Middle School (Grades 4-7)

  1. The middle school curriculum (grades 4-7) would target to achieve the terminal competencies outlined in national/ global curriculum framework for grade 7, although it would be interpreted in the light of what a child should learn, to be ready for doing well in high school (grade 10) examination with another three years of schooling input. Annex I- summarizes this in the light of Australian/ Singapore science curriculum for middle school stage. The high school science curriculum would have more advanced conceptual, analytical-numerical and experimental science topics. The specific curriculum for grades 4-7 will broadly follow but not exactly cover the issues/topics listed in SCERT or NCERT books for the concerned grade. Instead, year-wise adaptation would be made to suit the needs of children/ teachers, while conforming to the terminal goal.
  2. Gyan Shala agrees with the constructivist paradigm of learning/ pedagogy but does not take the position that the only way for a child to construct knowledge is through self-interpretation of experiments controlled or conducted by her/him. Instead, one effective way is through adult support whereby the explanation of concepts and theories/ relationships is used to interpret life experiences, and to examine the validity of the concept/ theory in answering questions that come to a child’s mind. Gyan Shala also considers Enquiry-evidence based mode of acquisition of knowledge as a critical skill to be nurtured by Science curriculum. At the same time, it considers expository/ deductive learning as the central mode for the bulk of knowledge acquisition. While not rejecting the utility and validity of controlled/ designed activity/ project by the child in laboratory environment as an aid to learning, Gyan Shala believes that this can be inefficient and even highly erratic in the absence of high-quality laboratory and highly skilled adult guidance, which are often not available in the context of mass education. Gyan Shala, therefore, would emphasize the application and interpretation of concepts by the child and teacher in the light of normal life observations.

We have reviewed the curriculum and learning material in science streams of Singapore, South Australia, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and new NCERT books. We found that all these focus on explaining the phenomenon encountered by a child in his/her normal life and environment. This helps root the science curriculum with child’s life experiences and trains the child in scientific processes of careful observation and analytical explanation. We feel that along with this approach of treating science at the primary level, it is useful to introduce some scientific terms while focusing on description/classification, thus starting elements of basic science concepts. This could help in gradually building a structure of scientific hypothesis/ explanation in the child’s mind. We remain sensitive to the danger of rote memorizing of the concept names/ definitions, and therefore, this exercise is carefully calibrated.

  • Gyan Shala pedagogy places emphasis on introducing/ clarifying basic concepts, through illustration and examples, and by helping children examine both the examples and contra-examples. Clarifying the basic concepts with ever deeper explanation would continue throughout the middle school years, the child-task would be designed to help her accomplish this.
  • In explaining the theories, Gyan Shala will take a gradual approach by first clarifying the directionality of relationship among the concepts, and only much later expounding the theoretical proposition.
  • Typically, a class session would have three distinct modules to be followed by individual work to be done by the child outside the class. The first module would be devoted to the introduction/ explanation by the teacher. The second module would require the children to try answering the questions framed by them or supplied by the teachers, which would require consultations or discussions with fellow children in the class. The last module would constitute the summary exposition by the teacher, and handing out of the individual task to be completed by the child that would require him/ her to refer to textbooks or make/ interpret observations regarding the specific features of her world experience.
  • Asides from the typical science module for the Middle school program, Gyan Shala curriculum would have a ‘project work module’ that would enable the children to undertake scientific processes of observation and analysis and link the science with their environment. This would emphasize: Observes, Chooses, describes, classifies, discusses, finds, makes models, creates, records, data-analysis, sort, makes hypothesis, identifies differences/ similarities, compares, measures, observes, experiments, explains, identifies ways of, investigates, demonstrates/ shows, communicates, constructs, predicts, orders, measures by using apparatus, communicates, generates, evaluates etc.