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Physics from Panchatantra Stories

Panchatantra stories have been fascinating children (and yes, adults too) since long time. It is a beautiful way to teach moral values through various situations of the animal world. It also conveys the message that if an animal can behave sincerely for his duties, then why not the human beings. We have read these stories many times, and still we enjoy reading these stories. But, our mind is never shaken by the idea of making physics (or mathematics) problems out of these fables. If you ask, how is it possible to see physics in such stories, which are supposed to teach us to be a good human being, not a good physicist, then the answer is, yes it is! Why? Because, we are Utsahi Physics Teachers. We have the ability to see physics in each and everything in the nature.

The task of making physics problems from the Panchatantra tales is very simple, like setting up a question paper for an exam. Don't understand, how? Ok, see few guiding steps below.

  • Choose one story you like (different from the stories which have already been chosen).
  • Find physics situations in the story and frame the questions accordingly.
  • Select realistic numerical data. For example, consider the story of a lion and a hare. The mass of the lion should be around 100-200 Kg, but not 250 gm.
  • Solve the questions, and rephrase them, if necessary.
You can see a sample story-cum-problem-set here.

The Science cell of Shiksha Sopan, an IIT Kanpur based NGO, is planning to bring out a book of such Physics problems. We would like to invite our enthusiastic physics teachers to contribute to this task by selecting a story and making a problem set as in the sample. Please submit your story with questions and their solutions to Ashish (email id- ashishbh@iitk.ac.in). We strongly recommend to provide the references from where you pick the story (either from a book, or internet, or both). In case you pick the story from internet, please note down the website address carefully. If you are making an extension of the existing story, please mention it too.

The contributors will be appropriately acknowledged in the book.

For any query, feel free to contact us at ashishbh@iitk.ac.in or hcverma@iitk.ac.in.