2020 Poster

Micro-organisms at our Doorstep! – Exploring Students’ Ideas about Microorganisms Through A Project Based Learning Unit

Meena Kharatmal
Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR, Mumbai, India

The poster was presented on 27th May 2020

We developed a Project Based Learning unit that facilitates hands-on activities such as collection of samples, observation of live microorganisms, describing and drawing their observations, measuring the microorganisms, in addition to using microscopes. One of the chapters in the class 8 textbook just lists about the activities to collect soil sample and observe through a microscope. The learning unit can be considered as an extension of the class 8 textbook activities, in addition that it also helps to establish links with the topics related to microbes.

During the Vigyan Pratibha teacher’s workshop, we conducted the Project Based Learning unit for groups of teachers. This was followed by teachers conducting the unit with students in their respective schools at class 8 as part of the Vigyan Pratibha learning unit. In this article, we provide one such classroom. Based experience of implementation of the learning unit. The students (n=20) were provided with worksheets longside doing the hands-on tasks/activities. Based on their responses, we discuss student’s ideas about microorganisms. The learning unit has been able to highlight students understanding of the existence, source, dormancy of microorganisms.

All students think that microorganisms exist in air, water, soil, although most have mentioned air as only the primary source. Another interesting observation that has been highlighted through this learning unit is about students’ misconception about the dormant, living condition of microorganisms. Notably, even the problems in measurement and errors in estimating the size of microbes in microns, have also been highlighted. We elaborate on the objectives, learning outcomes, tasks, activity sheets of the learning unit. We also address certain challenges and suggest some recommendations for middle and high school