Khoj School for Community Education keeps experimenting the relevance of the contents of the textbooks of the formal schools. The concepts of ratio and proportion are taught at the grade six level. Our hypothesis was that the contents of the topic were presented in a way that had no relevance to real life situations and the learners were required to parrot the chapter material without understanding the concepts. If the linkages are developed with real-life experiences of the learners, the children could learn the concepts much earlier than grade six.
An activity plan was chalked out. The first activity was to guide children grades two and three to make necklaces and bracelets using different ratios of coloured beads. The girls and boys found absolutely no difficulty in using different colours in a given ratio. As different children used different ratios, they were able to appreciate those different ratios resulted in different patterns. They could also make aesthetic judgements which ratios looked more beautiful to their eyes.
The boys showed equal interest in making necklaces and bracelets which was a result of Khoj School policy of promoting gender equality and encouraging unconventional gender roles.
In the end, the children could easily solve the mathematical problems related to the concepts of ratio and proportion.
Children were given the fruit of their labour - the beautiful bracelets and necklaces - to take home and enjoy wearing them.
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