5th April 2008: Spectators had the unique opportunity to witness the monthly family get-together of the elements of the universe. Each family took its proper position in the periodic table convention center- the alkali family, alkaline earth metal family, transition elements, poor metal family, non-metal family, halogen family and the noble gas family.
The meeting was called to order by the honourable conveners, Antimony (11yr old Tejas Srinivas) Molybdenum (12 yr old B. Siddharth), Technetium (11 yr old Mridula Sruthi) and Iridium (13 yr old Nihaarika). Apart from the regular updates, there were some pressing issues. The transition metals were upset with the joint family system and wanted to vacate the periodic colony as they felt they were too good for the others. The rest of the play involves a dynamic interplay between the elements wherein they remind one another of each other’s unique properties and the necessity to come together for a functioning world.
This presentation entitled ‘In Your Elements’, was the brainchild of the Isha Home School Science Team. This ‘Edu-Play’ as they call it, served as a reinforcement and extension to what the students had covered in class. The project started out with each child being assigned to a particular element and culminated into a full-fledged performance wherein each child had the opportunity to act as his or her element. The audience was enthralled by witty dialogues in both English & Tamil, wherein chemistry concepts were delivered in layman’s language with a hint of humour.
For example, Iodine commended Potassium on the generosity of his Alkali family, “Dear Potassium. The give-and-take is the very spirit of the ionic bond and your family has been an outstanding example of establishing them.” A roar of laughter came over the audience when Silver told Gold, “Sariya sonnai da en Thangam”.
Teacher Sathyamoorthy Srinivasan shared, “As there were 66 students, we chose 66 elements that were linked to their curriculum. The important aspect of the drama was that all the 66 seniors were involved with at least one dialogue each.”
Chockalingam Swamy, coordinator of the Isha Home School science team reflected on his expereince: “This was quite an insane experiment, considering the logistics of the play, the technicality involved and the dramatization required. The teachers and students worked considerably to get this drama into this shape and it was both challenging and exhilarating as we had less than a week to create and execute it.”
The students, parents and staff responded appreciatively to this innovative approach to learning.
11 yr old Tejas Srinivasan (Antimony – Sb), remarked “It helped both my chemistry and drama skills improve. I wish all classes could be like this. It made chemistry fun and it made hard concepts easier.” Astounded by her 13 yr old daughter, Vaishnavi ‘s (Hafnium – Hf) knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject, Shobha Vishwananth expressed, ” It is an incredible way for any student to not just memorize the periodic table but also to learn the properties of every element.”
Hugging Cesium (11 yr old Aalekhya Somayaji), Principal E. Maheswari stated “It is encouraging to see teachers bringing subjects alive for students. This method of using drama for educational purposes is not something new. This has been a part of the Indian Culture for generations. It would be wonderful for all students to be able to learn chemistry this way and for us to be able to exchange these innovations with other schools.” Though the summer holidays begin, undoubtedly future scientists cum thespians eagerly await next term’s further exploration into the explosive world of chemistry.
Isha Home School is the long-time dream and vision of Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev. The school is a private residential educational institution sprawled over a 60 acre campus in the foothills of the Velliangiri Mountains of the Nilgiri Biosphere, near Coimbatore in India. The school’s objective is to see that every child blossoms into his or her true potential.