Joy of Learning

A journey during spring towards environment education

A set of ideas for activities which may be developed for various standards by teachers.

Goal: Developing sensitivity and understanding about the immediate environment

Objective: To learn about the environment through seasonal changes.

Method and approach: Learning with the help of various subjects and approaches.

Subject: Palash (Dhak, Chila, Flame of the Forest; Scientific name – Butea monosperma) flowering during spring.

Spring is the season for the holi festival. It is also the season for the flowering of Palash. Its beautiful orange-red flowers appear during the same time.

Concepts and activities

  • Artificial colours are harmful for skin, hair and eyes. There is a long tradition of developing colours from minerals, flowers, bark and seeds (research needs to be done in library and on the internet for a few examples)

  • Palash flowers are beautiful (this needs to be appreciated through observation of a single flower nd the whole tree in flower). The tree is also known as the Flame-of-the-Forest (the petals are shaped like flames and the sepals are black/dark green in colour like coal!). The tree and individual flowers may be drawn during art class

  • Holi colour may easily be made by soaking dry flowers in water overnight. On the next day the water may be boiled with flowers to produce the water colour (craft activity). Only dry flowers that have fallen on the ground should be picked up and utmost care should be taken that ants and other insects are not picked up, if these are present then they should be removed by dropping the flower on ground a few times. This care will help in developing sensitivity towards environment

  • The resultant water colour may be used for playing Holi! (social activity)

  • This water colour is an excellent natural moisturizer which does not harm skin adversely (some oher examples of natural and artificial moisturizer may be searched and the information given to students. They may be asked about the origin of Vaseline).

  • The next step is observation of the tree with flowers. A binocular, a bird field guide and a person who has a basic knowledge of birds will be useful for the activity. Birds, animals and insects are attracted towards the nectar found at the base of petals (Botany). Birds like sunbird, Rosy Pastor (a migrant and related to Mynas), various other species of resident Mynas, Tailor bird etc. may be seen on the tree during flowering season. Many insects, reptiles and mammals also visit the flowering tree (Zoology). Students should make notes of their observations. Children may estimate the number of flowers on the tree (Maths). Their observations should lead to an understanding of the various linkages of the tree.

  1. Tree – flower – birds – pollination - seeds

  2. Tree - soil - water - sunlight – growth

  3. Tree – flower – water colour – social activity -natural moisturizer

  4. Needs of the tree – needs of the animals dependent on the tree - Our needs (The tree also
    provides an excellent gum).

  5. If the tree is cut for wood then we will lose flowers, gum and.......

  • This is also the right time for starting the process of making its saplings (gardening) so that the saplings will be ready by Monsoon for planting.

  • Performing arts presentation may be done by the students around the tree.

Concept and text developed by Santosh Gupta, Centre for Environment Education

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