When I was growing up, focus used to be on studies and play. When my children were growing up, focus was on studies and extra curriculars – not necessarily play. Amidst all the subjects and theory, there has and will always be a good amount of applied knowledge that one needs! I am a true believer of this. I was pleasantly surprised to see how some of the elementary schools in a few states were teaching new subjects. Sharing what I learned and how I felt…
About 2-3% of students from Elementary school were selected to go through a 1-year long subject based course focusing on how to research on their topic of interest. The teacher was teaching them how to do research in a structured manner and the students were researching on their own topics of interest! It ranged from “Why are bubble gums chewy?”, “Why is sleep important?”, “Juxtapositioning cell batteries” etc to pretty complex topics. Sharing more about some of the topics that impressed me.. 🙂
- Biodiversity & Biomes – What can we learn from the animals and birds living around us? When they have a headache what do they choose to do? How can we emulate it? From swimwear to Advil, what are the alternate solutions that we can use
- Circuits – What are the basic components of a circuit, how to apply engineering principles to build electronic equipment?
- Comic books – Students love to read stories through pictures. So, up to elementary school, everyone should be given comic strip based books for subjects. One student came up with a comic book illustration
- Quantum physics – Nuclear fission and fusion compared to what is happening in the overall universe. I want to know where this boy is today 🙂
Remember, all these were the brightest minds amongst 10 year olds in that community. So much of innovation and creativity flowed in the room. There was one student who stood out even amidst them (in my eyes..).
He said – “I started researching about clean water and why when we are surrounded by lot of water everywhere, we are finding it difficult to get clean water. I realized, I would rather do something about it today to help someone in need – than wait for a day when I grow to do something to help the cause”. He made T-shirts about clean water and saving the planet, raised $5000. He found out a village in India who needed to dig a well to get clean water and would benefit from the funds. His father helped him confirm the validity of the research. His teacher helped review the drafted emails for correspondence with the village panchayat head. As the village received the funds, the well was dug. The village panchayat head sent him a personal thank you note with a picture of the well and him 🙂 He put that up on his presentation.
Standing there, I felt goosebumps and realized – “Life is not just about doing research for future – you have it in your power to do something TODAY – even if you are just a 10-year old kid!” Hats off to this boy.. I would like to know what he turns out to be in life, and how the world gets better because of him 🙂
For all the parents reading this, how would you support your child if they wanted to do something? Would you ask them to sit with a book or support their dream to make a difference?