Butterfly Garden, Rap Songs Make Bio Lessons More Fun for Mumbai Students

Educational institutes in the city are adopting innovative ways to teach biology in order to make it more interesting.

For instance, students at JB Petite Girls School, Fort, are taught scientific methodologies with the help of rap songs.

One of them goes: “When you do science, here’s way. First ask questions ‘why’ or ‘how’. Then hypothise — do it now.

Experimentation is next in the line. You get results that are so fine. Analysing data — that comes next. Then graph your data to show it best. Being a scientist, it’s a trip. It’s not square, it’s really hip.”

After observing that students’ interest in biology had dipped, the school approached Dr Uma Ladiwala, a research scientist with the University of Mumbai. “Students often find subjects like biology boring because it involves memorising a lot of names and descriptions. The easiest way to do that is through music,” she says.

Ladiwala’s method involves familiarising students with scientific concepts through stories, rap songs, movies and other audio-visual aids. “Stories help them put things into context. For instance, instead of directly teaching students about the classification of animals, we advise teachers to tell them about Charles Darwin and then move on to his theory of evolution,” she added.

Last week, Kandivli Education Society’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel School and Junior College inaugurated a butterfly garden within its premises. It is spread over 300 square feet and is home to 150 bright and colourful flowering plants.

Commonly found species in the garden are Red Pierrot, Lime Butterfly, Common Mime, Malabar Banded and Southern Birdwing.
Guided by the efforts of seven biology teachers, the school constructed the garden to spread awareness among its students about butterflies.

“Many of the young children have not even seen a butterfly before,” said Sangeeta Srivastava, principal. “The butterfly population is dying in the city. Hence, we wanted to create our own butterfly harbour.”

The school will teach students to observe butterflies and record stages of their lifecycle.

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