A revolution in chemistry has begun. Practical work is an integral part of science education. Practical work involves active student participation. It is therefore most important part of science teaching. The art of science education by using experimental demonstrations has vanished from our classrooms and academic gatherings. In the majority of school science education there is no practical activity. It is true that many teachers will admit that they are not really prepared for it. Almost everywhere the burden of providing practical experiences for increasing number of students in the context of increasing costs of chemicals and equipments is felt. In our country the practical work has been eroded to the extent that students graduate with little practical experience and little understanding of science.
It is widely believed that practical work is an essential part of chemistry. It is very sad to note that teaching of chemistry in school level is in highly unsatisfactory state and no efforts were made to improve chemistry education in school level. In our country the situation is totally different. These should be nurtured for the benefit of our students. We are making effort for revival of the art of teaching of science using scientific experiments which would have a positive influence in our understanding, learning and propagation of science and our efforts in this direction is a drop in the ocean. The best way to propagate the beauty of chemistry is to present the basic principles through demonstration in the class room.
It is true that the experimental demonstration would always leave a deep impression on student. Faraday’s lectures on the candle, his demonstration of the liquefaction of gases, Raman’s demonstration of the Raman Effect and aspects of vision are outstanding examples. The lectures at the Royal Institute of Chemistry, narrated in Kendal’s book entitled, Young Chemists and Great Discoveries created a strong confidence amongst laymen. Does the scientist of the present era hold such confidence. Several criteria have been examined for selection of the proposed “Innovative Chemical Experiments Demonstration Programme.”
We successfully organized a Two-day National Symposium on “International Year of Chemistry IYC- 2011” under the focal theme “Chemistry – Our Life, Our Future” held on December 17-18, 2011 at CMERI, Durgapur to marks the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded to Marie Curie.
That symposium created a lot of interest in chemistry among the participants’ institutes and we received many requests to start a programme relating to “Innovative Experiments in Chemistry” to improve chemistry education at school and college level. Therefore we started this programme in 2012 and achieved a tremendous success and continue this project in 2013 for the benefit of the teachers and students.
These experiments created a lot of interest in chemistry and above 20, 000 teachers & students directly benefited out of this project. They enjoyed the chemical magic show and raised many interesting questions about the chemical reactions which they have had never experienced. We very carefully explained all the chemical reactions using different chemicals and apparatus, black board, LCD & OHP projection facilities etc. We supplied various teaching aids materials like posters, books etc to the schools for their classroom presentation.
The main purpose of this interesting, educative and informative “Innovative Experiments in Chemistry” project is directly involve the students in the arena of experiment and observation science. We visited 60 schools and colleges in Burdwan & Bankura districts and demonstrated different type of interesting chemical reactions including Elephant Toothpaste, Dancing Sodium, Hydrogen, Firework without Fire, Volcano, Chemiluminescence, Cold Fire, Chemical Fog, Experiments using Liquid Nitrogen, Burning Ice, Instant Snow Polymers, Fire Ignited with Water, Change of Oxidation State, Funny Colour, Iodine Clock, Traffic Light, Exploding Balloons, Magic Water, Dancing Ball, Writing with Fire, Burning a Rupee Note, Black Pillar, Nylon Rope, Filling with Nothing, Boiling Cold Drinks, Cutting One Throat, Superfast Ice, Lycopodium Exploder etc to the full packed auditorium containing 300 – 500 students and teachers in each and every school.
We believe a sound and dynamic system of Chemistry Education is vital for the progress of science. It is a matter of serious concern about gradual decline of student’s interest in chemistry. It is the right moment to motivate the younger generation and the teaching community about the achievements and contributions of chemistry to humankind.
We are receiving more and more requests every day from different schools for this chemical magic shows. Therefore we would like to continue this project in 2014-15.
In 2014, we would like to focus our attention to the Maoist affected most backwards rural schools in Bankura and Purulia districts in WB, India where still laboratory facilities is unavailable. We would also trying to develop a Low Cost Chemistry Kit containing different chemicals to be given free of cost to different schools to perform different chemical experiments by the teachers and students and feel the joy of science.