28th April 2016:
The best way to teach kids about Nature and Ecology is not by lecturing them in the classroom, but by engaging with them through films and activities.
At Brindavan school, almost 150 students of classes 4th and 5th participated in the viewing of two short documentary films about Nilgiris and its biodiversity. They even took part in an exciting game ‘Predator & Prey’ that taught them about how different organisms interact in nature.
The Nilgiris is one of the richest biospheres in India. Having mostly a mountainous terrain it has a deep rooted relationship with water. This documentary taught the children how plants, humans and other animals depend on water, and how this natural resource is slowly being depleted due to urbanization. It also showed different animals, birds and insects found here along with practices and customs of indigenous groups.
Gaur in my Garden:
Gaur or the Indian bison is a large wild animal. But surprisingly, they are often seen in human-inhabited areas, posing a large threat to humans and to themselves. Gaur in my Garden is a documentary film about this unusual behavior and on how to live peacefully with this wild animal. This documentary is very relevant to the lives of the students and their families and the DOs and DONTs while dealing with human-animal conflicts.
Prey & Predator:
In this game, the children simulated different animals to understand feeding stress and the food chain within the ecosystem. At first they were divided into two groups ‘Frogs’ and ‘Snakes’. The frogs had to hop to collect stones – ‘food’, while the snakes had to catch the frogs. Later, a third group ‘Eagles’ was also introduced to prey on the snakes. The pressure of finding food or catching prey within the stipulated time, while also not being eaten, was a hands-on way of understanding this concept.
The students were enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn important concepts in a different way. While, the teachers not only supported but appreciated the program.