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Cartoons to Dispel Science Phobia for Students

New Delhi, The dry text of science books often despised by schoolchildren will now get animated with the addition of cartoon characters.

In its recently published science textbook for Class 7 students, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has introduced two cartoon characters, 'Boojho' and 'Paheli', who ask a lot of questions and are also on the lookout for answers.

"Our aim is to dispel the fear of science from the mind of students. Through the cartoons we have tried to make the book interactive and student-friendly," said Hukum Singh, head of the department of science and mathematics at NCERT.

"They discuss questions with each other, sometimes with participation of students in the class, teachers and even their parents. At times they emulate real-life situations to make the subject more understandable," Singh told IANS.

For example in the nutrition section, Boojho says: "Once his grandfather told him that his wheat fields were spoiled by a fungus". He wants to know if fungi cause diseases also.

Paheli told him: "Many fungi like yeast and mushrooms are useful, but some fungi cause diseases in plants, animal and humans. Some fungi are also used in medicine".

From parasites to photosynthesis, from lens to the groundwater situation and from insects to acid substances, these cartoons accompany every single chapter of the 235-page book to help students understand science better.

"The best way to make a thing simple is through photographs and examples and both the cartoons are in the same role. Attempts have been made to recall children's own experience and build concepts around them," Singh added.

He said that since the textbook is for millions of school students across the country, many activities have been suggested to clarify concepts. Through these cartoons, the book has shown the students how to carry out many science experim ents and activities.

"Inculcating creativity and initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in learning and not as receivers of a fixed body of knowledge.

"Hence, many photographs and illustrations have been included along with the cartoon characters to make the book more attractive," Singh added.


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