Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kamraj Nagar Quiz

What should GK be about? In many Indian schools, including ours, GK is about memorizing a collection of facts assorted by people in the system over years. Mostly, these facts are not related to the student's life in any way.
Who invented the microscope or radio? 
Who was Mark Spitz or Jesse Owens? 
Their surroundings and their own knowledge, as always, are ignored.We wanted the kids to know that observing their surroundings is important. Your community (Kamraj Nagar) is valuable and do not let anybody tell you otherwise.

In an attempt to do so, Kamraj Nagar quiz was conceptualized by Neha. Neha and Anish spent a few hours walking around the community observing things themselves and we discussed the questions that we were going to put in. Personally, it was one of the most exciting things we have done in the classroom.

This is what the quiz looked like. My thoughts on particular questions are in italics.

1.     What side of Ghatkopar Station is Kamraj Nagar on – East or West? 

2.    What is the name of the highway outside Kamraj Nagar?

3.    What side of the highway is Kamraj Nagar on? East or West?

4.    What is the name of the restaurant outside Kamraj Nagar gate, beside the police chowki (station)?

5.    What is the name of the temple (mandir) at the starting of Kamraj Nagar? (Hint - It’s a name of a student in 5th A) 
(I wanted the students to figure out the name from the hint since it's a Shiva Temple and the student is Shivshankar :))

6.    What is the name of the hotel, B, next to the Shiv temple? (Hint - It’s a name of a God whose festival was celebrated recently)

7.    What famous sweet shop is closest to the Shiv Temple? (A lot of our students buy their birthday cakes from here)

8.    What is the name of the chawl of Modern English School? (Must know!)

9.    How many schools are there in Kamraj Nagar? Can you name them?

10.  Name the classes exactly opposite the Municipality school. (We made an error on this one since there are no classes opposite the school. There's just an advertisement for one which we mistook for the real classes. Told to us by a student obviously)

11.  What is the motto of Deep Sagar classes?  (Explaining motto to the kids turned out to be very difficult)

12. What is the name of the first Gali of Kamraj Nagar? (This was only for the adventurous since the first gali is right at the end and not the best part of the community)

13. Who is the corporator of Kamraj Nagar? 
14. How many jewelry shops are there in Kamraj Nagar? 
15. What is the name of the church in Kamraj Nagar? 
16. Between which two Chawls does the library fall in?  

*KAMRAJ STAR* (This really got them excited. It required some work and exploration. They had 24 hours to find the answers)
17. Hanuman provision general store has a big poster of an oil bottle. What is the name of the oil? 
18. What is the name of the bag store opposite Maruti Jewellers?
19. What is the name of the hotel opposite chawl no.29?

20.There is a big, white goat that sits daily around the first public toilet. It has a chain on its neck which has 3 shells on it. What are the colours of those shells? 
(This goat is called Qurbaan and after Bakri-Id, is not seen any more. I don't think we considered the safety issues of having 40-50 kids ogling a huge, temperamental horned goat. I just crack up on imagining that sight.)

The quiz was a huge success. The kids were thrilled, especially about being Kamraj Stars and Superstars. A big chunk of the 5th grade was out on the streets after school trying to find the answers. Ashutosh and Kaif paired up and explored the area from the first gali to the last. They did this 3 times to make sure that they counted all the jewelry shops correctly. 
Does it matter if it was October and really hot in the sun? Does it matter if parents are waiting at home for lunch? No. Not really.  
As much as I thought it was cool, as a teacher I had to remind myself of my responsibilities and send the kids home first. Sigh.  

The next day, the air in the school was buzzing with excitement. Kids were bragging about how many answers they found and how close they got to the goat. They jumped upon us to confirm their findings. When we were discussing, there were shouts of joy on being correct. There were also heated discussions.
One of them was on the number of jewelry stores. Neha had counted 11-12. Apparently there are 15. There were groups of kids arguing about it being 14, 15 or 16. We smiled to ourselves. This time the answer was not important. The search and this discussion was.

While returning from the library, I saw Sejal and Anjali huddling together over the quiz paper in the middle of the street and thinking about which question to do next. They are on an adventure and discovering things on their own. A memorable experience for 11 year old girls. Moments like these are what they will remember. I immediately took out my cellphone and called Neha. So will we.