Game Base Teaching Model: learning Physics by Gulli-Danda


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In this paper, a Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM) applying inquiry as a strategy to teach and learn, connecting classroom teaching with real life experiences, is proposed for physics classroom instructions which use traditional games as demonstration tools. It advocates motivating children to learn through their surrounding games.

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Game Base Teaching Model: learning Physics by Gulli-Danda

  1. 1. Learning Physics through Games: A Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM) Builds an Inquiry Classroom Environment Suresh C Joshi* Head, Learning Resource Center and Department of Physics Ahlcon International School, Mayur Vihar, Phase – 1, New Delhi – 110091, India PACS No.’s:01.40.E, 01.40.ek, 01.40.Fk,, 01.40.Ha Abstract In this paper, a Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM) applying inquiry as a strategy to teach and learn, connecting classroom teaching with real life experiences, is proposed for physics classroom instructions which use traditional games as demonstration tools. It advocates motivating children to learn through their surrounding games. This methodology serves to teach physics principles to middle and high school students using play as the basic component of the inquiry approach. It creates interest in learners for physics and also develops skills of pre-knowledge, logical reasoning, concentration and nurture inquiry-based scientific temperament. It further develops strategy making and problem solving (monitoring) among the students. This model displays how to overcome traditional teaching methods (pure lecturing and chalk-talk), how to draw student’s attention in the class and how to convert initial ‘thrust’ into ‘ample engagement’ strengthening active learning. Moreover, it throws light on continuous assessment methods used to check actual gain in conceptual understanding of the learner. It is proposed to study the implementation of GBTM and effectiveness of practical games in different classroom settings in India as well as in US in my successive communications. It is also proposed to study the patterns in responses from high school students, teachers and different research groups to observe the suitability of GBTM in creating active learning environment for physics classrooms. Key Words: Problem solving skills, active learning, inquiry based scientific temperament, parallel approach of education, interactive lecture demonstrations, Gullidanda, Play Way Method, traditional teaching methods, real life phenomena, physics education research. *E-contact:
  2. 2. Learning Physics through Games: A Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM) Builds an Inquiry Classroom Environment 1. Motivation and Introduction: Games, traditional or modern always play a crucial role in human development. Use of games in sharing culture and increasing mutual understanding amongst the civilizations is popular since ancient times. Games have been used as effective learning tools and were integral part of our learning process. In this report a ‘Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM)’ is proposed which is said to be an effective tool to motivate learners at middle and high school level in India and abroad. Firstly, this report will introduce the background of the study in section 1. Objectives and purposes of designing GBTM are clearly stated in section 2 which specifically illustrates that the model is meant to arrest declining interest of Middle and High School students towards physics. It is also stated that the motive of designing GBTM is to help make students think logically and independently. GBTM also focuses in developing skills like concentration, strategy making, problem solving, building, designing and importantly nurturing inquiry based scientific temperament in students. This model serves the purpose of interacting beyond the boundaries which increase mutual understanding among global citizens, because they learn about each other’s culture and tradition through games. Developing parallel approach of education by ‘learning through game’ is the key aspect of GBTM. Need to develop this model and implementation idea is discussed thoroughly in section 3. Regulatory points for using GBTM are also discussed in this section along with some popular games and physics principle involved with them. A comparison of GBTM with traditional teaching methods (lecturing and chalk talk) is given in section 4 which shows a clear advantage of this model over existing teaching methods and supports the usefulness of game based teaching model for present physics education in India as well as abroad. Since through this model children learn physics concepts through hands-onactivities ongames so they learn about the tradition of culture associated with that particular game. Children think creatively to build and design because they deal with game tools first hand. Limitations and challenges with GBTM are given in section 5. Section 6 comes up with the emerging future goals in which popularization of GBTM through in – house training programs, seminars and workshops among teachers and developing website for its global outreach are few of them.
  3. 3. 2. Background: In India, at middle, secondary and higher secondary levels, majority of students are in government schools (55%), a large proportion are in government aided schools (35%) whereas un-aided private schools accounting for the remaining ten per cent of places (World Bank, 2003)[1, 2]. Government statistics and independent surveys have revealed that over ninety percent of the rural schools at elementary level are run by the government. Eighty-seven per cent of the schools in India are in the country’s villages [3] where students do not have access to instruments to perform experiments. Major percentage of teacher and the taught have never been exposed to hi-tech machines recording observation for an activity performed. I am apprehensive for the appropriateness to train teacher-task-force in India to teach physics with the help of existing (recently researched) demonstration techniques like interactive lecture demonstrations (ILD’s).Therewas a strong need to develop an amalgam of demonstration methods with games, activities and models that teachers and students are familiar with and would be able to relate with them easily. It is a common observation that middle and high school students fear physics because they do not comprehend the subject. They think that it is a subject for the individuals with extreme intelligence. The purpose of this project is to remove this misunderstanding by developing a method which makes physics interactive and ought to be one that connects learners to their imagination. Students would get the opportunity to actively participate in hands-on-activities, like in flipped classrooms, which excavates their in-depth knowledge of the subject. This project provides scope to students to think independently and logically, moreover, enables them to have an exceptional grasp over the basic concepts of physics as they are encouraged to design models of their own choice and creativity which strengthen their building capacity. The model also aims to help teachers to develop certain new models incorporating rich experience of larger community of educators in the world. It is also proposed to study the adequacy of this approach as a technique to ‘flip classrooms’ [4] in Indian context. I have been extensively using popular traditional games, toys and models for classroom instructions available in my vicinity. It is my realistic observation that active participation of learners increases enormously when classroom teaching is supported with game based demonstrations. Seeing noticeable results in increase in interest level of students, I was encouraged to design some instructional methods to create active learning
  4. 4. environment in physics classrooms based on traditional games and toys. In progression with the similar studies, I have designed a ‘Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM)’ which uses games as demonstration tools emphasize Confucius: “I do I understand” philosophy of learning. Involving students in different activities through games is a noble idea to teach physics in an open environment. Hands–on–experiments and activities make the concepts of physics clearer to the students, moreover it increase their interest in learning physics. In this design students are given freedom to think and experiment in their own way to strengthen their skills like strategy making, designing and building.Through this project, I intend to study the engagement of young learners in demonstrations based teaching. These demonstrations make students familiar with the idea, terms and concepts to be used.Such unconditional engagement helps them in developing necessary life skills. It is also proposed to develop certain models and to share these experiences with the larger community of science teachers in India as well as in the world. Lastly, through this report, I aim to motivate high school students to pursue physics for higher studies as a hobby not as an obligation and to encourage High School Teachers to take active part in physics education research. 3. Design of Game Based Teaching Model; Need, methodology and implementation idea: Every game, traditional or modern, involves some principles of physics in it. These principles can be understood better when they are evolved through an activity of learner’s interest. Learners can go beyond the functioning of the game alone. After engaging them into game based activity, they will be asked to correlate it with their existing knowledge. Discussion will be further extended (directed) to the new concepts by the instructor. Two-way interaction is the key component of this methodology which imparts physics by creating an analogy between the hands-on-experience and concept building. This project educates students not only about physics, but also about traditional games of their own country as well, retracing similarities between the education systems of the nations in a very clear and transparent comportment. GBTM makes physics learning an enjoyable experience, moreover, increases popularity of traditional games amongst the youth. It would be interesting to see responses of students, teachers and physics education research groups towards GBTM around the world. 3 (a).Implementation steps of GBTM: 1) Students will be divided into small groups (to have sufficient interaction) and demonstration of the activity (game of their vicinity) will be done by the teacher (a short
  5. 5. video of the game shall be played for the better understanding, if possible). Note that purpose of the demo is not to teach them how to play the game. 2) Students would be involved in the activity (game) so that they would be able to understand the facts by their own involvement in the activity (Enough stimulation / motivation is there since the activity performed is close to the real life experiences). 3) Adequate time would be given to the students for discussion with their group members (this provides sufficient scope of brainstorming) and to have self-analysis (thinking independently). 4) After necessary discussions, students would be asked to write the physics terms involved in the demonstration (whatever they have observed). They can record their observations in terms of key words also (here topic /topics will be evolved through the demo; discussion allowed). That will give teacher instructor an idea about the current status of knowledge of diverse group of learners. 5) Teacher instructor would gather common observations (she/he may also write observations on the black board) and discus them briefly so that background for that day’s class can be prepared. Starting with a particular concept of common interest (students are given choice over which topics teacher expect them to learn through thinking about that particular game) teacher should go ahead and explain the concept in detail (by discussion method) using adequate mathematics which should not overpower the essence of concept building [demonstration (as it was done in the beginning) can be repeated, if required]. 6) Discussion/question session will be open at this point of time for all the learners. Once all queries are discussed / answered, quick recapitulation of the concepts learnt would be done (may be with the help of keywords). 7) An assessment sheet (post – assessment test) will be given to the students to check their understanding of the terms and concepts discussed/involved. 8) Teacher will evaluate assessment sheets and plan further strategy to deal with the students who had trouble in learning the topic. 3 (b).Regulatory points while using this method: 1. Use simple models, games (of learners’ vicinity and culture) for demonstrations. Make sure that there is minimum use of complex terminology until the students have gained a firm grip on basic concepts. 2. Stimulate their minds by encouraging them to cite various day-to-day examples in which they can demonstrate the applications of terms evolved and involved here.
  6. 6. 3. Take help from co-teacher (or student volunteers) for the successful demonstration of the activity (game). 4. Avoid giving your own insight. Encourage students to think themselves about the ideas using their inventiveness so that they can think of new models on games in the future. 5. Be open (be prepared) for the failures of attempts, defects or problems during the demo. Incorporate students ideas and take benefit of local situations available (which suits students need) 6. Cite examples focusing similarities and differences in games (traditional or modern) of different countries in the world to renew interest of students support a parallel approach of education. 7. Use lucid and everyday language during the lessons. Technological teaching tools like power point presentations and videos can also be used. 8. Note down students responses and formalize everything to make teaching-learning process student centered. Make further modification to fulfill student's needs. 9. Incorporate certain values and skills that games and sports in general tend to promote like teamwork, analytical ability and perseverance to make your teaching value based. 3 (c).Some practical (traditional) games and physics principles involved with them: 1. Hitting the marbles (Kanchey) similar to Native American game Cherokee Marbles: 1. Calculated force, 2. friction, 3. transfer of energy (K.E into P.E and vice-versa), 4. Collision 2. Gulli – Danda (Lippa): 1.Torque (couple of force), 2. Rotational motion, 3. Angle of projection, 4. Horizontal range, 5. Translational motion, 6. Impulse, 7. Trajectory followed by the Gulli. 3. Gulel: 1.Elastic potential energy, 2. Conservation of energy, 3. Projectile motion, 4. Elasticity (Stress – strain), 5. Restoring force, 6. Transformation of potential energy stored, in the form of work, into kinetic energy (Work – Energy theorem). 4. Snow Snake Game: 1. Friction, 2. Free body problems, 3. Normal reaction, 4. 2D motion. 5. Sampholia (Pithoo): 1. Action and reaction, 2. Inertia, 2. Collision, 3. Angle of release, 4. Bernoulli’s theorem, 5. Spinning of the ball. 6. Lattu: 1. Spinning, 2. Rotational motion, 3. Balancing, 4. Equilibrium of forces, 5. Elasticity. 7. Keekli: 1.Balancing of forces, 2. Friction, 3. rotational motion, 4. circular motion, 5. force (action and reaction, momentum).
  7. 7. 8. PatangBazee (Kite flying): 1. Bernoulli’s theorem, 2. Tension, 3. Air drag, 4. Tension in the thread, 5. Buoyancy, 6. Aerodynamics. 9. See – Saw (teeter-totter or teeter board):1. It works as a simple example of a mechanical system with two equilibrium positions. One side is stable, while the other is unstable, 2. Torque, 3. Center of gravity, 4. Rotational equilibrium. 10. Cricket: 1. Conservation of momentum, 2. Impulse, 3. spinning and swinging of ball (Pressure difference, Bernoulli’s theorem), 4. Momentum transferred by bat. 11. Football: 1. Rolling motion, 2. Projectile motion, 3. Rotational motion, 4. Translation motion, 5. Aerodynamics of sports balls, 6. spinning of ball, 7. turbulent air and drag. 12. Basketball: 1. Spinning on the Ball, 2. Receiving a Pass: m·v = F·t, then F = (m·v) / t, 3. Bouncing the Ball, 4. Starting, Stopping, and Changing Direction, 5. Hang Time, 6. Projectile motion, 7. Elastic collision. 4. Traditional teaching methods vs. Traditional games in teaching; A Comparative study:It is a proven fact that traditional teaching methods does not play substantial role neither in creating students interest in learning nor in increasing their conceptual understanding [5 - 8]. Here is the comparison between traditional teaching methods and Game Based Teaching Model: S No. Traditional teaching methods Game Based Teaching Model (GBTM) 1. 1. 2. 3. 4. 2. 1. 1. Students are bounded to learn the 1. Students are not bounded to learn the decided topic. topic already decided. 2. There is no scope of brainstorming / 2. Enough scope of brainstorming / independent thinking on terms to be thinking independently. involved. 3. Very little exchange occurs between the teacher and the students during a 3. Physics ideas /topics will be evolved through demo. Students are given lecture. choice over which topics teacher expect 4. No possibility of evolving new terms them to learn through thinking about because traditional teaching methods that particular game. are topic confined. More theory (reading) is involved. As such no activity is performed by the students. 1. Less theory [observation (demo) based]. Understanding takes place by student’s involvement in the activity. Less writing work, Interesting MCQ’s / rubric worksheets.
  8. 8. 3. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 1. 1. Limited stimulation/motivation (for Middle and High School students) to study a particular topic 2. No connection experiences to real 1. Enough stimulation/motivation (since a game is involved with it). life 2. Close to real life experiences. 1. Teacher is the central focus of 1. Students get involved in the activities. information transfer (in lecture and 2. Involvement of students – Chalk-talk methods). Increases their interest. 2. Students can find lectures boring 3. Pre and post-test are there to check causing them to lose interest. students understanding (MCQ’s 3. Teachers may not get a real feel for based on demonstration) how much students are understanding 4. Students are motivated to 4. No motivation (other than cramming) participate in developing new to develop ideas through application models; nurturing building capacity and scientific temperament. Hi-tech machines* are required to record observations [Not true for many (not all)of the UMD ILDs on Redish’s web site]; David Sokoloff and Ronald Thornton: The physics Suite(John Wiley & Sons, 2004) In everyone’s reach (Can use the games / toys used in your country) Physics, from its very roots has been a subject that is directly related to natural phenomena occurring in real life. It is playing with the ideas rather than mugging-up from the textbooks [4]. It is hardly about doing only calculations on paper rather doing hands – on experiments to understand the laws of nature. It is a subject which deals with describing why and how certain real-world phenomena occurs and enables us to predict what may happen in certain circumstances. However and perhaps due to the inquisitive nature of the subject and maybe the methodology used to impart it in our education system, it seems that it has very little practical use and students study it just to clear the examination. It is presented in very analytical manner which causes certain amount of anxiety among students. Nevertheless, at its core, it is extraordinarily simple subject and requires a logical and systematic approach. So, a different and innovative method has to be adapted to impart physics education to the students making subject easy, enjoyable and crystal clear. I have experienced both, as student as well as teacher; children enjoy learning science through experiments and activities if they are exposed to real life
  9. 9. examples. Since, I have learnt best through the examples and activities during my schooling so my experience points in the direction that children enjoy learning through hands-on-activities. Piaget’s (1964/2003) theory proposes that in the construction of knowledge, assimilation is associated with play whereas accommodation involves logical or serious thinking [5]. In Vygotsky’s (1978, p.102) social constructivist theory, “in play a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior. In play it is as though he were a head taller than himself” [5]. 5. Limitations and challenges with GBTM: Time management during the demonstration may be one of the major concerns of applying GBTM in classrooms. It is also a concern that main purpose of clarifying physics concept should not be defocused during the demonstration through ‘Fun factor.’ Further, designing demonstration needs lots of time, energy, resources, and good research environment. GBTM’s applicability to large class setting is apprehensive. It is difficult to bring models on games from different backgrounds into a common curriculum. The instructor, who uses this approach, may not be well supported by their administration and/or their colleagues. In addition if it is done in a superficial manner it will not be successful and may result in a diminishing of students respect for the nature of learning and school. Despite of all the limitations discussed above, it proves as one of the interesting, enjoyable and efficient methods of teaching physics concepts. 6. Discussion According to National Curriculum framework 2005 [9], published by National Council of Educational Research and Training, New Delhi, ‘A good science education is one which is true to child, true to life and true to science itself.’ A similar attempt is the commencement of Continuous Comprehensive Education (CCE) by Central board of secondary education [10] in Indian secondary education system strengthening the notion of holistic development of the child. Many prominent educationists [11 – 13] throughout history have held the view that education is not merely about learning few facts and passing an examination. It is also about applying what is taught in daily life situations and (as Andrew Elby says) [14] a student cannot learn how to learn a subject without learning ‘something’ about that subject. The problem is how a student recognizes and understands that ‘something’ to have further growth of understanding in a particular subject. The study [14] also gives a summary of instructional objectives and the corresponding flow of the curriculum for detailed understanding of developing an awareness of everyday
  10. 10. thinking and learning to it. Everyday learning depends upon a number of factors like students interest areas, surrounding environment, involvement of teacher and the taught, motivation to learn, challenges in learning and fear of failure. If learning environment is made so comfortable for a learner such that he himself gets motivated to be an active participant of learning, I think half of the job is done. How do we create such learning environment where learner participates actively and produce excellent results? In such setting learner does not realize that learning is taking place. Neither is it a pressure on the learner to learn a particular amount of content nor is there a pressure on the teacher to make the learner understand with ‘fixed content in a set interval of time’ by using any method which may or may not be appropriate. With the evolution of games, learning styles have also been evolved [15, 16]. Few traditional methods like chalk-talk, lecturing and text – book centered instruction still occupy a substantial space. They lead lack of interest of the learner thus emerging discipline problems in the classrooms that destroy student – teacher relationships. GBTM allows enough interaction of students with their peers as well as with the teacher at every step of the development of the concept. In this way game based teaching model unlocks the doors for open-ended discussion in the class fades discipline problems. Educators all over the world are trying to develop a flawless learner – centered method of teaching. ‘Flipped Classrooms’ [4, 17, 18] is one of them. It is a pedagogical concept that replace traditional lecture format and provide an opportunity to explore concepts and to review materials from outside of class. This can happen in many forms but the underlying premise is that students review information outside of class and instead of simply receiving information from the instructor come prepared to discuss concepts. It actually creates a pedagogical shift from teaching methods that involve static and monologic content delivery, and opens up room for conversation between students and instructors around the application of course content and reflection on learning experiences. Using games in classroom teaching can also be one of the finest methods to flip classrooms. Responses on GBTM from different groups direct that this method engage learners in hands-on-activities and healthy discussions in the class which is analogous to the core idea of flipped classrooms. Such stress-free environment exaggerates students to think creatively. Children learn better through activities relating daily life experiences with them. Using Game Based Teaching play a vital role in enhancing their conceptual understanding of facts and also retraces the purpose of arresting declining interest in
  11. 11. studying science, which is a major challenge in present scenario. Some of the most complex scientific principles can be discussed while playing through most significant method of learning ‘Play Way Method’. It is in this context that ‘Game Based Teaching Model’ attempts to study some of the popular games pursued by children and youth in India as well as in U.S. and their use as effective demonstration tools to motivate learners. In my forthcoming paper, I plan to study the implementation of GBTM through direct modeling, in-house workshops, seminars, talks and website with larger community of science students and teachers in India and abroad. I hope to report some good research findings to support the game based teaching model in my successive communications. Acknowledgements: I express my gratitude towards Mr. Ashok K Pandey, Principal, Ahlcon International school for his guidance and support. I also express my appreciation to Prof. Andrew Elby, Department of Physics, UMD for his reviews on the report, Prof. Michael Wittmann, Department of Physics, University of Maine, Orono and Prof. Eugenia Etkina, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA for their critical comments and inputs. This work was supported by US department of state. I gratefully acknowledge Institute of International Education, Department of State for the grant (grant no. G-113121) and Office of International Initiatives staff, College of education, UMD for their all – time support. References: 1. (2003a). ‘Secondary Education in India. Report No. 2, South Asia Human Development Sector’, Discussion Paper Series, World Bank, Washington D.C. 2. (2003b). ‘A Policy Note on the Grant-in-Aid System in Indian Education’, South Asia Human Development Sector, Discussion Paper Series, World Bank, Washington D.C. 3. Mehrotra, S. (2006). ‘Reforming Elementary Education in India: a Menu of Options’, International Journal of Educational Development 26, 2006, 261–77. 4. , eaching_the_flipped_classroom.html 5. 4.16316.0.17485. pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=58cd1a128b75a554&biw=1366&bih=673
  12. 12. 6. Ellington, H., Goedon, M., &Fowlie, J. (1998). Using Games and Simulations in the Classrooms. London: Kogan Page. Perkins, K., Adams, W., Dubson, M., Finkelstein, N., Reid, S., Wieman, C., &LeMaster, R. (2006). PhET: Interactive simulations for teaching and learning physics. The Physics teacher, 44(1), 18-23. 7. Klietsch, R. G. (1969). An introduction to learning games and instructional simulations: A curriculum guide. Newport, MN: Instructional Simulations. 8. Hasse C, 2008, Learning and transition in a culture of playful physicists, European Journal of Psychology of education No 2 vol 23 p.149 – 164. 9. National Curriculum framework – 2005: ISBN 81-7450-467-2 Published by NCERT, Sri AurobindoMarg, New Delhi 110 016, India. 10. Continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CBSE); 11. Rabindranath Tagore on education: 12. Educational Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda _ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false 13. montessori-course-pre-primary-teacher-training g.pdf 14., 15. R.K. Thornton and D.R. Sokolof, “RealTime Physics: Active Learning Laboratory,” Proceedings of the International Conference on Undergraduate Physics Education, July, 1996, to be published by the American Institute of Physics, “Tools for scientific Thinking – Motion and Force Curriculum and Teachers” Guide, 2nd ed. (Vernier Software, Portland, 1992). 16. Teaching Physics With the Physics suite; Edward F. (Joe) Redish. 17. Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams; FLIPPING THE CLASSROOM: Technology & learning [1053-6728] yr: 2012 vol: 32 iss: 10 pg: 42 -43. 18. BERRETT, DAN; How Flipping the Classroom Can Improve the Traditional Lecture: Chronicle of Higher Education 2/24/2012, Vol. 58 Issue 25, pA16-A18.