A journey during spring towards environment
A set of ideas for activities which may be developed for
various standards by teachers.
Goal: Developing sensitivity and understanding about the
Objective: To learn about the environment through
Method and approach: Learning with the help of various
subjects and approaches.
Subject: Palash (Dhak, Chila, Flame of the Forest;
Scientific name – Butea monosperma) flowering during
Spring is the season for the holi festival. It is also the
season for the flowering of Palash. Its beautiful orange-red
flowers appear during the same time.
Concepts and activities
- Artificial colours are harmful for skin, hair and eyes.
There is a long tradition of developing colours from
minerals, flowers, bark and seeds (research needs
to be done in library and on the internet for a few
- Palash flowers are beautiful (this needs to be
appreciated through observation of a single flower
and the whole tree in flower). The tree is also known
as the Flame-of-the-Forest (the petals are shaped like
flames and the sepals are black/dark green in colour
like coal!). The tree and individual flowers may be
drawn during art class
- Holi colour may easily be made by soaking dry flowers
in water overnight. On the next day the water may be
boiled with flowers to produce the water colour (craft
activity). Only dry flowers that have fallen on the
ground should be picked up and utmost care should
be taken that ants and other insects are not picked
up, if these are present then they should be removed
by dropping the flower on ground a few times. This
care will help in developing sensitivity towards
The resultant water
colour may be used
for playing Holi!
Satish Awate, CEE
- This water colour is
an excellent natural
does not harm skin
other examples of
natural and artificial
moisturizer may be
searched and the
information given to students. They may be asked about the origin of Vaseline).
- The next step is observation of the tree with flowers.
A binocular, a bird field guide and a person who has a
basic knowledge of birds will be useful for the activity.
Birds, animals and insects are attracted towards the
nectar found at the base of petals (Botany). Birds like
sunbird, Rosy Pastor (a migrant and related to Mynas),
various other species of resident Mynas, Tailor bird etc.
may be seen on the tree during flowering season. Many
insects, reptiles and mammals also visit the flowering
tree (Zoology). Students should make notes of their
observations. Children may estimate the number of
flowers on the tree (Maths). Their observations should
lead to an understanding of the various linkages of the
Tree – flower – birds – pollination - seeds
Tree - soil - water - sunlight – growth
Tree – flower – water colour – social activity -
Needs of the tree – needs of the animals
dependent on the tree - Our needs (The tree also
provides an excellent gum).
If the tree is cut for wood then we will lose
flowers, gum and.......
- This is also the right time for starting the process of
making its saplings (gardening) so that the saplings
will be ready by Monsoon for planting.
- Performing arts presentation may be done by the
students around the tree.
Concept and text developed by Santosh Gupta,
Centre for Environment Education