Arun, a friend of mine, approached me for some good questions to be included in a quiz he was planning for higher secondary students. He wanted fancy questions which would entertain as well as enlighten the participants. He was right.
However, a quiz these days should play a much bigger role. Earlier, all that a student taking part in a quiz had to do was to recollect certain facts and figures. For instance, a question would go as, “Name the capital of India.” The youngster would have learnt by heart the capitals of several countries and only had to choose the correct one from his or her memory.
Even though such a quiz could be interesting, it does not challenge the intellect of the student. In modern educational systems, the questions are framed in a different manner. Here, a query by the quiz master should evoke another question from the student. This doubt raised by the child is the real question. It also shows that the intellect of the youngster is tested. Such an exercise expands the student’s knowledge too.
The difference between an old style question and a new one can be illustrated as follows: Earlier, the question would be, “Spell out the formula to measure the area of a circle” for which the answer is ‘pi r square’. Likewise, the formulae to find the area of square, triangle and rectangle can be asked.
However, the child should raise its knowledge much above this level. For which, the questioner can ask: “You are aware of the shape and area of a circle, square, rectangle and a triangle. Now let us carry out an experiment. We can go to a pond and throw a stone into the water. What could you observe?”
The child’s answer would be, “Waves in the shape of a circle.”
Now the quiz master can ask, “Why are the waves circular and not square?”
This question may not be immediately answered by the child but it would set the youngster thinking. The student then becomes a seeker of knowledge.
The answer to the second question is, “While a stone is a solid substance, water is a liquid. When a stone dropped in water, both collide with each other and the collision creates a sound. This sound propagates through water. Incidentally, the propagation of sound through water is symmetric, which is symbolized by a circular shape. So, waves in water have the shape of a circle.”
This answer can be obtained only by connecting various pieces of knowledge that the child has learnt. A teacher needs to inspire the student to think along these lines. In fact, the public educational sector in Kerala offers such a coaching to students.
Arun summed up the message. “Real growth can be achieved only by a fine blend of memory and thought.