Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Project Method - Methods of Teaching Science

Methods of Teaching Science-Project Method

Prepared by
M.Sc., M.Ed., JRF & NET
Assistant professor in Physical Science, Arafa Institute for Teacher Education
Attur, Thrissur.

            It is based on the philosophy of Pragmatism. Founded by John Dewey.
            As a method of teaching, founder is Dr. J.A. Stevenson.  Emphasis is to practical, experimental, instrumental and utilitarian basis.
Philosophies behind this method are:
1.         Children learn better through association, co-operation and activity.
2.         Learning by doing
3.         Learning by living, because life is actually full of projects and we try to carry out these projects every day.

Stevenson : “A project is a problematic act carried to completion in its natural setting”.
Kilpatrick : “A project is a whole - hearted purposeful activity proceeding in a social environment”.
Ballard : “A project is a bit of real life that has been imprted into the school”.
Parker : “A project is a unit of activity in which pupils are made responsible for planning and purposing”.
Thomas & Long : “A voluntary undertaking which involves constructive effort or thought and eventuates into subjective results”.

Basic Principles of the Project Method:
1.         The Principle of Purpose
            The activity performed by the pupils must be significant and of interest to them.  It must be purposeful and combining life with learning.
2.         The principle of activity
            The pupils are naturally active.  Opportunities should be provided for them to be active and do things for themselves.  They must be kept active mentally as well as physically and must bear the maximum responsible.
3.         The Principle of Reality
            This method aims at reproducing real life situations into the school.  Pupils are given opportunities to exercise their owers in real life situations.
4.         The Principle of Freedom
            The desire for any activity should be spontaneous and not forced by the teacher.  It should grow out of pupil’s own purpose and need.  They should be free to do and express themselves.
5.         The Principle of Utility
            Knowledge should be useful and practical.

Major steps of the Project Method.
1.         Creating the situation (providing a situation)
            Provide for such a situation where in the pupils feel spontaneous urge to carry out a particular project according to their needs and interests.  The teacher has to discover the interests, needs, tastes and aptitudes of children.  He may draw the pupil’s attention to the projects in mind through informal conversation or discussion as taking out children outside the school.  Thus pupils are brought face to face with the situation.
2.         Choosing the project (Selection of the Project)
            The pupils should themselves choose the subject.  Self choice leads to better results and entail self satisfaction.  Pupils select any one, discuss the various projects, rejects some, explain others and thus come to a decision.  The teacher should see that the project chosen are of great utility and satisfy the real need of the pupils and are within their capacity to be successfully carried out.
3.         Planning
            Pupil should themselves do the planning and the teacher is to guide them.  Discussions may be held and each student should be encouraged to express his views and suggestions.  The teacher may point out the difficulties involved in the carrying out of the project.  Resources and limitations should be discussed.  After such oral discussion, the detailed plan may be written up by the students in their project book.
4.         Carrying out the project (Executing)
            When the plan is ready, pupils are to put it to practice. Students themselves should distribute the various items of duties among themselves according to individual interest and capacities.  Every student must contribute something towards the successful completion of the project.
            A chain of activities are to performed by the students.  They are busy in collecting information, visiting  various  places and pupils,  looking up maps, writing letters, referring library books, observing specimens, studying history, keeping accounts, calculating prices, inquiring rates, measuring lengths of areas.
            The teacher should guide the students provide necessary information and help them on right lines.
5.         Evaluating
            No project is complete unless the work done in it is evaluated.  Students should assess their activities; whether they have been carried out in accordance with the plan or not, mistakes committed are noted.
6.         Recording (Project Report)
            The teacher should keep a complete record of work how they planned, what discussion were held, how duties were assigned and finally criticism of their own work and some important point for future reference.

Distinction between Heuristic and Project method
Heuristic method
Project method
1.  More stress on discovery approach
1. More stress on learning by doing
2.  Encourages pupils as far as possible in the attitude of finding out.
2. Encourages a maximum amount of purposeful activity on the part of pupils.
3.  The school is not brought into intimate relations with the activities of pupils             
3. The school is brought into intimate relations with the activities of pupils.

Role of the Teacher
1.         The teacher is a friend, philosopher and guide.  He moves about with the students and does not hesitate to guide and give help wherever need arises.
2.         He develops intimate, close and healthy relations with the students.  He understands and appreciates their problems and helps them to solve as an elder brother or father.
3.         He should learn with the students and should not claim to know everything.
4.         He should help the students in developing the character and the personality by allowing them to accept responsibilities and discharge them efficiently.
5.         He should provide democratic atmosphere in the class so that the pupils can express themselves fully without any fear of the teacher.
6.         He should be alert and active all the time to see that the project is running in its right lines.
7.         He should have a thorough knowledge of individual children so as to allot them work accordingly.
8.         He should have initiative, enthusiasm for learning and should be well-experienced.

Criteria of a Good Project
1.         It should be purposeful, useful and practicable to the daily life of pupils
2.         The experience gained should be fruitful.  Activities undertaken must be completed, knowledge must be gained and lead to further acquisition of knowledge.
3.         The project should cater for the activities of the pupils.
4.         There should be full freedom for the students to work of their own accord.
5.         It should be selected by the active participation of both pupils and the teacher and a greater part of work will be done by pupils under the guidance of the teacher.
6.         It should be economical and purpose of the project should be achieved without any waste of money or time.
7.         It should be timely and drawn in relationship with seasons of the year and the interest and need of the community.
8.         It should be challenging
9.         It should be feasible.

Types / Kinds of Projects
1.         Producers type-Students construct materials-models of garden, collect specimens, and     seeds
2.         Consumers type-Students get experience and enjoy by conducting excursions.
3.         Problem type-Solution to problem to be found out like cause of epidemic, purify water    etc.
4.         Drill type-Efficiency in some activity like skill in swimming and manual work.

1.         The method is in accordance with the psychological laws of learning.
            a)         Law of readiness i.e., pupils are ready to learn creating interest, purpose and life like situations.
            b)         Law of exercise ie., by practice we learn things, self activity on the part of students create experiences in later life.
            c)         Law of effect i.e., child should be  satisfied and feel happy in what he is learning.
2.         It promotes co-operative activity and group interaction.
3.         It gives training in a democratic way of learning and living
4.         It gives teacher the dignity of labour and pupils develop respect and taste for all types of work.
5.         Correlation of subjects is achieved
6.         It develops initiativeness and self - activity
7.         It affords opportunity to develop keenness and accuracy of observation.
8.         It makes learning natural, spontaneous and interesting.
9.         It sets up a ‘challenge’ to solve and thus stimulates constructive and creative thinking.

1.         Projects absorb large amount of time and can be used as a part of science work only.
2.         It gives the children superficial knowledge of so many things but leaves an insufficient basis of sound fundamental principles.
3.         Planning and carrying out projects involves much more work on the part of the teacher than with their usual methods.
4.         Larger projects in the hands of unexperienced and unskilled teacher lead to boredom.
5.         It pre-supposes that the teacher is a master of all subjects and has an all-round knowledge of everything to impart correlation.  But it is practically impossible.
6.         Text books written on these lines are not easily available.
7.         It is expensive, for the students will have to bear the expenses of excursions, outdoor activities, purchase or material.
8.         In this method, teaching is not well organised, regularised and continous, whole time table is almost upset.

9.         It is difficult to teach all topics in this way.