NCERT rationalisation exercise:
The pandemic is over. There is no need to remove vital topics from the syllabus. How will students study chemistry in Class XI if they don’t know the basics?
The NCERT has removed the chapter ‘Periodic Classification of Elements’ from the Class X curriculum in its latest rationalisation exercise. The course load has been taken down by 30 per cent in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though the Class X Chemistry textbook dropped the chapter that introduces students to the periodic table, it continues to be a part of the syllabus for Class XI.
Generally, students start learning and understanding the reactivity series in class VII and extended learning on the same topic continues in grades VIII, IX and X. This topic is like the “motherboard of chemistry”. It forms the foundation of the subject. How will students study chemistry in Class XI if they don’t get acquainted with the periodic table in Class X? They are likely to lack even basic knowledge on the subject. Students will be in the dark about concepts like valence, bonds, molecules and basically chemistry itself. This will be burdensome for them later.
The pandemic is over. There is no need to remove vital topics from the syllabus. The NCERT is still reducing topics in the syllabi to bring down students’ load, while colleges have gone back to pre-Covid times. I strongly advocate, despite the rationalisation exercise, this topic should be taught even if it is not going to be assessed. It can be made interesting by incorporating a plethora of activities with the amalgamation of art integration. I have taught it using the following interesting techniques.
I used the method of storytelling to explain the history of the periodic table from Dmitri Mendeleev to Henry Moseley, the father of the modern periodic table. Then, I created a wall display board in the corridor, wherein the students would see the elements constantly. Because of it, the contents of the periodic table got drilled into their subconscious. Finally, students created one element card each where the element photo was displayed with vital information about the element, including its atomic number, atomic weight, name and symbol.
Students arranged themselves according to their position in the periodic table and explained trends in the properties, moving from top to bottom or from left to right in the table. Conducting on-the-spot quizzes, crossword puzzles and a fun song based on the periodic table are a few activities that can make the subject fun and interesting.