Visual treat!

Sridivya Mukpalkar

twig-it Wouldn’t it be great to show how science works rather than talk theory in the class? Engaging an abiding interest in science among students will go a long way towards helping them imbibe a ‘scientific temper’ and in making class sessions fun, interesting, and invigorating for teacher and student alike. The Internet offers myriad opportunities to spice up lesson plans and can be a good teaching aid for teachers on the look-out for ideas to make their sessions more interesting. While there are hundreds of educational videos on the Internet, pruning the good ones from the bad can be a daunting challenge for a busy teacher. Webwatch, we hope, will help you find the best websites with interesting content. This time we present to you, Twig Science Films, http://twig-it.com/, a rich visual database that a teacher can use to supplement her/his science class.

Twig-it has over 500 videos on different topics in science. With footage from several sources such as the BBC, NASA and the International Olympic Committee, the video quality (Flash) is exceptional. Each video is about three minutes long and tackles different themes in physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science. Each subject is divided into modules, which are again divided into different topics. For example, under chemistry, the module called ‘Atom’ is divided into electron shells, atom, discovery of atom, firework colours, flames and spectroscopy and northern lights.

The videos can be used by teachers across curriculum for students who are in middle and high school. The videos are arranged on the website to help teachers intuitively navigate the sections. These videos are supplemented by quizzes, hand-outs, images and lesson plans to reinforce the concept. The support material can be downloaded easily and used in the class.

While the videos are a great resource, not all of them are free and the subscription process is not very clear on the website. Internet bandwidth could also be a huge challenge while showcasing these videos at school. However, for schools that have no bandwidth challenge it would be wise if the teacher watched the films first before showing it to the whole class. It will also help if the teacher paused every now and then to explain difficult or new words.

All in all, Twig Science Films is a valuable video resource that teachers and students will enjoy. The research on each topic and the adaptation of complex footage to suit school curriculum is unique to Twig.