Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Experimenting the Experiments!

Lovnish Thakur

(Lovnish manages the Learn, Out of the Box programme in Himachal Pradesh)

The children were all in awe when the tornado made by them in a bottle blew a storm! Perhaps it was the first time that they had seen such a miracle in their science class. 

This was only a practice session with children of Government Senior Secondary School-Baldiyan in a remote hamlet of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh. LOTB had initiated organization of a ‘Science and Math Fair’ in the school. Our Regional Program Associates (RPAs) Daulat Ram and Anu Rana were provided training to organize the Fair and conduct the workshop with the students.

Preparation for the Fair 
Concepts in Math & Science were shortlisted primarily on the criteria of them being aligned to the curriculum, being illustrative and easy to prepare and explain. Students of classes 6th and 7th participated in this 3 day workshop during which they were explained the underlying concepts through the WebBox and other resources. Thereafter the students were guided to create the shortlisted models and prepare an explanation for the same. After preparing the models, the students practiced for the day when they had to display these to their teachers and students from other classes.

The students were grouped class wise and each group was assigned models. Various models as stated below were prepared by the students using low cost material available locally.

Over 14 models were prepared on various topics in Science like Respiratory System, Electrical Circuit, Conductance and Insulator, Homemade Camera, Mirror Prism, Anemometer, Rain gauge Model, Stab Potato, Concave and Convex mirror, Making a tornado in a bottle, Sun, Moon and Earth, Hole in the Palm, Properties of Sound and Magnets

While in Math over 11 models were prepared like Different Elementary Shapes, Geoboard, Broom stick multiplication, Paper Protector, Pythagoras theorem, Feeling the Angles, Circle to rectangle, Area of Triangles, Integers, Fractions, Circumference and Diameter

The Big Day 
After intense preparation and practice, the big day had arrived. It was a special occasion for students and school management alike as an event of such magnitude was a first for this school. We also invited the parents on this occasion to engage and participate in the fair and also see the models prepared by their children.

Parents were both excited and joyous seeing their wards demonstrating relatively complex scientific and mathematical concepts and also explaining the working of the models. Through various discussions with the school management, they strongly encouraged organization of such exhibitions. The Principal and other teachers of the school went through the exhibition and were delighted to see that the students had come up with such unique models.

Organization of such fairs has met considerable success and now our attempt is to make them self-sustainable. The programme is preparing modules which can be replicated by the field staff in various schools and thereafter by teachers themselves. Once conducted, such events are live demonstration of what ‘learning by doing is’ and this reinforcement is here to stay!

Packing up after a long day, our team was thrilled to learn that the school management has decided to conduct such fairs on their own every year henceforth!