Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Muggu Kolam Rangoli for Afterschool!

A nice site on Muggu is ikolam. It is a community site - you can learn to make kolam patterns, contribute your own, take part in contests, etc. There is also a Kids section on the site. It does not have much but the two memory games based on kolam/muggu designs should be interesting.

The NCERT math textbooks now have exercises on kolam designs! So having kids to copy kolam patterns or conjure up some of their own can fit confortably into your afterschool math class!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Local History for Afterschool

Every city, town or village has its own history. While children may find world or national history boring - local history full of familiar names and places is bound to capture their attention.

Resources on local history are not easy to come by - unless you have a good circle of 'old friends' or enough money to buy coffee table books on city history!

The good folk weaving words on the internet however may have something for you! Here for instance is a great resource on Hyderabad at Narendra Luther's blog.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Moon Struck Afterschool!

Chandrayaan I has been launched. Here are some videos to relive the moment:

A You Tube video recorded 4 km from the launch site at Sriharikota.

Here is another You Tube video of the DD live telecast. It gives a feeling of 'being there'. Must point out to children how calm and composed the scientists are!

And from ISRO's own website are these video resources (you need to use Internet Explorer) - the DECU-ISRO video on the mission is good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Learn to Teach Afterschool!

This post is about eGyanKosh - "a National Digital Repository to store, index, preserve, distribute and share the digital learning resources" managed by the Indira Gandhi National Open Universiy (IGNOU).

eGyanKosh offers easy access to the course materials of IGNOU. There are a great number of courses in agriculture, information technology, education, sciences, social sciences, management, etc. - all accessible in PDF format after a simple, fast registration process.

As someone interested in education, you may wish to look up the course materials from the School of Education. I found the 'Content Based Methodology Courses' of the B.Ed programme quite interesting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Speedy Computation Afterschool

High speed computational skills are seemingly in demand - or the mushrooming of Abacus and 'Vedic' Mathematics programmes would have us believe. While computational skills are not an end in themselves, gaining proficiency in these will boost a child's confidence in math.

Here are some resources on 'Vedic' Mathematics:

First, I think it is important to read this article 'Myths and Reality: on Vedic Mathematics' by S. G. Dani of the School of Mathematics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

Next, here is an explanation of the 16 'sutras' that can help in speedy computation. This site is from the Math Resource Centre at IIT, Mumbai. Each of the sutras is explained with examples using Java Applets.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Food for Thought for Afterschool!

This post is about a resource on ecology - specifically on food chains and food webs. Indian textbooks usually carry the very boring insect - frog - snake - eagle example. Examples from the many foreign textbooks which students use at undergraduate and postgraduate levels are - well foreign!

What if you chanced upon a very well written, very Indian example illustrated with clear colour photographs? Well, here it is.

Dilip Amritphale and Sanotsh Sharma have put together an excellent piece in Resonance (January 2007) based on their field research on the food chains associated with Calotopis - a very common plant on India's wastelands. Read it yourself and share it with your students - it is sure to get them hooked on to nature study.

Play with Clay Afterschool!

I think its a great idea - having a place to 'make' your own ceramic stuff.

The Color Factory lets you choose a piece of ceramic (coffee mug, soap dish,...) then lets you paint your own design on it (yes, they give you the supplies). You leave the place with a receipt and collect your glazed and fired art piece in a couple of days. The pricing is reasonable too - my little one tried her hands on a little bird for Rs. 80. They also have take-away kits. Get the supplies from The Color Factory and give them the painted peice to glaze and fire for you.

They have outlets at Delhi, Gurgaon, Goa, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

Actually, I haven't written all that they have to offer - so do visit the website.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

University on Video for Afterschool

The Indira Gandhi National Open University has its own You Tube channel. 20 of its schools (including science, social sciences, health, humanities, management, etc.) have over a 1000 videos up on the site.

Check them out!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Math Lab Ideas for Afterschool

From the Central Board of Secondary Education is this resource on math lab activities for standards 3 to 8. It is available at the website of the Directorate of Education, Government of the NCT of Delhi.

The resource is a 25 page document listing activities that help in strengthening math concepts.

More Textbooks for Afterschool

Here is the link to textbooks for standard 10 from the state of Karnataka, India.

More Math Afterschool!

Following up on my earlier posts on textbooks - here is the link to textbooks from Tamil Nadu.

English versions of math textbooks are available from standard 6 upwards.

Considering the reputation that Tamil Nadu has in mathematics - you would not want to miss these resources!

If textbooks of all states were accessible on the internet for math drills at home and afterschool - would worksheets be redundant?

Great Geography Resource for Afterschool!

Getting children to explore maps is a great way to get them hooked on to geography, culture, applications of mathematics.... you never know where a map can take you.

Here are some great resources for thematic maps:

The State of Environment Atlas of India put together by Development Alternatives and the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. This atlas has 25 maps in .pdf format including maps showing soil types, water quality, forests, etc. It aso has an interactive map section - but I had no success exploring this - it seems to take forever to get working. The site also has links to the State of Environment Reports of various states. Do take a look at these - they can give children a very good picture of your state's resources, issues and initiatives at conservation. No textbook can come close!

The Census of India has a good section on maps - state maps, thematic maps, etc. Click here for the link to the Census of India's GIS section.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Textbooks from the Heart of India! - for Afterschool

I was in the 5th standard, I think, when I first saw a 'different' textbook - my cousins had come to India for the holidays and had brought their textbooks along. I drooled over the fine paper, the colour photographs and the friendly style.

Reading a different textbook can be a useful experience. Children have a tendency to stick to 'the right way' - which they believe is the way of their textbook. It is necessary to have them consider that there may be many right ways... and another textbook can help here.

Here is the link to textbooks from the heat of India - the state of Madhya Pradesh. While not all the links work, don't give up! I tried the links to the math textbooks - the ones for the 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 9th standards worked.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Folk Mathematics for Afterschool!

Remind yourself and your students that math should never lose its meaning!

A beautiful resource to help you do this is Numeracy Counts! a publication of the National Literacy Resource Centre. While it is basically meant for educators involved in adult literacy programmes, it is of relevance to every teacher and learner of mathematics.

The book explores 'folk mathematics' - math that is part of oral tradition, culture, art, language. It contains riddles, games, tricks and stories that are sure to delight. Best of all, as the source of this wonderful material is India's cultural context, it is sure to make you (and your students) get up and look around for more - in the muggus of their homes, in their grandmother's stories, in their kirana shop calculations...

Here is a pdf version of the book for download. Thanks to Arvind Gupta and Vidya Online.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Natural History for Afterschool

The Indian Academy of Sciences has an initiative called Project Landscape. This project seeks to provide field guides on the natural history of India for amateur naturalists and students. Here are some great resources that the project provides:

Here is an e-book on dragonflies and damselflies.
Here is an account on frogs and toads.
Here is an account on hunter plants.

Here are details of books published by Project Lifescape:

Amphibians of Peninsular India: A Lifescape - Amphibians of Peninsular India
By R. J. Ranjit Daniels, Indian Academy of Sciences
Published by Orient Blackswan, 2005
ISBN 8173715149, 9788173715143
268 pages

India, a Lifescape: Butterflies of Peninsular India
By Krushnamegh Kunte, Madhav Gadgil, Indian Academy of Sciences, Indian Academy of Sciences
Published by Orient Blackswan, 2000
ISBN 8173713545, 9788173713545
254 pages

Look up the e-books to enrich your afterschool biology programme. Also make sure your library has the Project Lifescape books.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tiger Time Afterschool!

Here are some resources for Tiger Time in your afterschool programme:

Sanctuary India has a website for its Kids for Tigers campaign. The site is very informative with details (and photographs) on tigers (fur, stripes, claws and all...!), their habits, threats to tigers and their habitat, advice on what children can do for tiger conservation, puzzles and games, etc.

The Project Tiger also has a website with a special section for children. It has facts (sub-species, range, population estimates), Tiger stories, Tiger pictures, etc.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

2 October at Afterschool

October 2 is the birth anniversary for Lal Bahadur Shastri - India's second prime minister.

This site from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India has a short biography on his life. It also has a biographical accounts of over 70 great personalities -most of them Indians.

Here is another more detailed account, also from the Government of India.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gandhigiri for Afterschool!

Tomorrow is October 2 - Gandhiji's birth anniversary. Here are some useful resources to help you infuse some Gandhigiri into your afterschoolers:

A neat set of nine short stories for children by Uma Shankar Joshi

A pictorial biography with interesting anecdotes

And not to be missed: A Pinch of Salt Rocks an Empire

Online books including The Story of My Experiments With Truth