In Nepalese high school educational systems, ‘Science education’ classes up to high school (tenth grade) are largely lecture based and provide very limited exposure to students to scientific method and experiments. Although, students in developed regions of Nepal might have some hands-on learning opportunities, issue is more prevalent in remote areas such as the periphery of the Bardia National Park (hereafter referred to as BNP) where students will barely receive such opportunities.
We have designed this project to address this lack of understanding of scientific method in high school students (9th and 10th grade; 14-16 years old) from schools inside the buffer zone of BNP using crocodilians as models. The physical appearance, behavior, and ecology of these crocodilians provide ample of scientific hypotheses testing opportunities to students. During our ongoing long-term ecological research on crocodilians in the BNP, we have generally observed lack of knowledge and negative attitude towards crocodilians in locals including students. Therefore, teaching scientific methods to students using crocodilians as models will create win-win situation by equipping students with scientific knowledge as well as encouraging and involving them in conservation of crocodilians.
Participating students will have opportunities to design their own research on various aspects of ecology and biology of crocodilians, conduct field work to collect data, and present their findings. Additionally, we will also design curriculum on conservation education programs and implement it in students club such as eco clubs and green clubs.
Funding Agencies: Melinda Gray Ardia Environmental Foundation