Authored By: Nikhilesh Nisarg and Jogitha Kanapally
If you want to shine like a Sun,
First Burn like a Sun.
– Dr A P J Abdul Kalam
He was one of the greatest scientific minds India has had. Inspiring thousands to follow his footsteps. He came from humble circumstances and became the president of the largest democracy of the world. He set down the benchmark in science and took defence technology in India to newfound heights, one that can parallel first world countries.
The social revival group Educators for Equality ( ) aims at bringing social change and equity through good quality holistic education. And how better to put a commemorative start to their work than to celebrate the essence of Dr. Kalam through promoting science among the senior students of Samta Hindi Vidhyalaya, Turbhe, Navi Mumbai.
The event started at 10 AM on 15th October the auspicious day of Dr Kalams Birthday with liquid nitrogen experiment demo by Vijay Arolkar, Liquid Nitrogen facility, TIFR.
Demos included making flowers and leaves instantly brittle, breaking a rubber ball, making banana hard, superconductivity, the effect of temperature on electrical resistance etc…some were used to make instant ice cream!
Children of Samta Hindi Vidyalaya and adults alike cooed in awe at the scientific tricks made possible by tweaking temperature to super sub-zero levels using liquefied nitrogen.
Children enthusiastically danced, in a fuming ethereal and ephemeral floor of white cloudy nitrogen that forms when it instantly gasifies from liquid state.
On the terrace of the school various stalls were installed to give different flavors of science that is broadly classified as physics, chemistry, Biology, Technology, Math and Environment. A brief description of the stalls are as given below:
Physics stall: Demonstration of experiments like pulleys and weights, air pumps, electromagnetism, magnets, density of liquid, optics etc were lucidly explained by Nishchal (Educator at EDUFE, pursuing PhD in Nuclear Science, BARC), and Rakesh, an undergraduate student from Center for Excellence in Basic Studies (http://www.cbs.ac.in/). It helped children understand and experience what they had learnt in textbooks and thus empowers them extend that knowledge for practical applications.
Liquid nitrogen cooled superconductor levitating on a magnetic track
Children of Samta Hindi Vidyalay and Adults alike cooed in awe at the scientific tricks made possible by tweaking temperature. children enthusiastically participated, in the end, they even danced in a cloud of Liquid nitrogen outside of school.
Chemistry Stall: Understanding the chemistry behind day to day items like color changing turmeric cloth as indicator, vinegar as acid & baking powder as base, card games to learn about the elements of periodic table i.e. the building blocks of the all that ‘matters’ in this complex world, proceeding towards understanding different types of chemical reactions, chemistry of cooking sambhar rice a demo were carried out by Nikhilesh (educator EDUFE, and a scientist at BARC) along with the senior students of Samta Vidyalaya. The role of the central science, chemistry, is seen as a bridge between the fundamental concepts of physics and the complex cyclic processes of biological organisms, thus in a way the link between life and death.
Biology stall: Knowing about the complex the microorganisms, a view of the world under the microscope, models of human digestive system, heart eye etc. sample species from different kingdoms explaining biodiversity by Jogitha (educator at EDUFE, Social worker engaged with womens rights and environment) and Shraddha (A biotechnologist pursuing UPSC)
In the afternoon, we had biology citizen science project lecture by Jai Kishan, a graduate student from Collaborative Undergraduate Biology Education, CUBE, HBCSE. where children got to learn about national level projects teaming up with schools far and wide to observe the natural living world in their nearby areas and update anything interesting in the group, in this way many unknown patterns emerge when scientific data is collected over numerous locations. Some of them are observing mango flowering, seasonal changes in gulmohar, butterfly mapping, crow call time noting, fly trapping, identifying mosquito, growing micro-pets etc (http://www.hbcse.tifr.res.in/research-development/collaborative-undergraduate-biology-education-cube). The lesson learnt was that science need not be any hi-fi machine or equipment driven but just a method where we observe earnestly and report honestly.
Technology stall: Just as complex living beings are made up of basic building blocks called atoms, complex equipment and devices can be made by simpler blocks known as ‘WitBlox’.
Live demos of Line follower robot, light sensor based water tap, coin sorter, dancing robocar etc by Linsha from a Navi Mumbai based educational start-up Techshiksha (http://techshiksha.org/)
Environment stall: As there is no point in just knowing that our environment is degrading, senior children of Samta Vidyalaya, the Eco-Friendz are not fans of hollow armchair philosophies and thus believe in direct action. Recycled waste thermocol and using them for making creative and decorative artefacts, contributed by Dr D B Naik, scientist of BARC who has been recycling waste thermocols for more than 20 years now. Waste plastic bottles collected in the previous drive (https://inkalabsite.wordpress.com/2017/10/19/wonder-where-all-of-navi-mumbais-waste-goes/) were converted into flower vases by Hema, a young and enthusiastic senior student of Samta and key members of Eco-friendz. The group demonstrated impressive works of art in this stall, this could foresee-ably be a good source of income for underprivileged skilled people in the future.
The day was ended with distribution of Tulsi plants as a takeaway gift, and with a hope that enthusiasm for science and vigor for affirmative action will also be seeded among ignited young minds by venerating children’s perennial president and role model Dr. Kalam.
Thankful to all the people involved in this program who made this event a success, we hope that more children are impacted by such events from groups like Educators for Equality.
(For more follow the facebook page, Educators for Equality or http://www.edufe.org/ )