STEM Land Newsletter Volume-7, Jun ’19-Sep’19

~Sundar, Sandhiya

 

STEM Land Newsletter

Volume-7, Jun’19-Sep’19

About STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) land

STEM Land is currently located in two outreach (Isai Ambalam and Udavi) schools of Auroville. Children come to STEM Land for their Mathematics, EVS, and Science classes. They learn Mathematics, Electronics, 3D-Printing, Programming, Mindstorms (Robotics), strategic games puzzles and much more.

The children take responsibility for their learning and plan their goals. They work individually, in pairs or peer groups and ask for support from facilitators when they need it. This self-directed learning is based on Sri Aurobindo’s first True principle of education (Aurobindo, 1910); “Nothing can be taught”. With younger children, we work on real-life projects that impact their surroundings. We believe a nurturing environment can support a child’s learning. Read more


Growth of the team and new engagements

This has been an exciting four months at STEM land. Our team of youth supported through our partners has doubled. This came with a n engagement with Quilt.AI (https://quilt.ai/) A Singapore based AI company currently supports the 5 members of a technical AI(Artificial Intelligence) team who work on analysis and analytics of web data as well as 4 members of the content team who are working on analysis and content for Quilt. This has also supported STEM land expand and create an English program other than the Mathematics and EVS/Science support we provide to schools. We are currently a team of 18 Engineering and Arts Professionals. Our projects with partners range from embedded software in Python, Analog VLSI layout,  Artificial Intelligence and analytics. Meet the team


(Left to right) Murali, Thamizhselvi, Anupama, Prabha, Vimal, Bhuvana, Sanjeev, Sriman, Pratap, Ranjith, Arun, Sandhya, Sivaraman, Poovizhi, Abilash, Sundranandhan, Vasanth, Saranya, rushikesh (Naveen and Logeshwari are not in this picture).

We organized a teacher training program over the summer for organizations that were interested in setting STEM land at those locations or learn programming with children among them were Abilash, Jagdeeshwari, Saravanan, Savitri, Vimal, who are setting up STEM land at AV schools, Tamarai, Aikiyam School and AIAT. Also a paper based on the workshop “Conscious teacher training supporting inner development along with developing skills and competencies” has been accepted at epiSTEME8 that we will present at Homi Baba Center of Science Education in January.

STEM Land New Location Inauguration 2019.

STEM land was offered a new space in Udavi. All of us were busy setting up STEM Land for a couple of weeks. Especially, Saranya who took the lead for setting up the place. Now we have a bigger space and have a separate room for electronics.

A lot of thought was put into how space should be organized and some construction and repair was needed. This was handled by professionals and organizing the space was up to us. Saranya made a 3D model of the space and was materials should come. Everything was planned before the move, we needed no afterthoughts. Read more

Sri Aurobindo  birthday and Independence day celebration run 

As India marked its 73rd Independence Day, Children’s of Isaiambalam school celebrated Independence Day with flag hoisting and cultural events. We started our day at 5:00 am with bonfire and meditation for an hour in amphitheater Matrimandir Auroville. Later, we had started our marathon. Our Whole team and teachers helped to organize this event. Students started their marathon from Auroville Matrimandir across the Auroville communities and villages and reached school. Our Principle Dr.Sanjeev and teachers followed them and encouraged to finish the marathon. Read more

Javascript course

We had an intense course offered at STEM land by Umang Doctor who has over 18 years of experience in software development and digital technologies. Ten people participated in the course and we learned and Practical experience of responsive website development primarily using JavaScript.The course included: HTML 5, CSS 3, ES6, Bootstrap 4, JavaScript basics, Data structures using JavaScript, JavaScript modules, OOPS, Debugging using Chrome. Read more.

Internship at STEMLand

Three students from college came to STEM land for intern-ship for two weeks to learn Scratch programming. We have asked them to create some projects from scratch. They created some video projects on addition, fraction, number line, multiplication, representing and arranging ascending order and descending order with squares. People from STEM land took Stewardship for new emergence for them. They took a few tools from that session for them. For examples stand, fear, deep listening, and background conversation, four profile and Conscious Full-spectrum Response. Read more

Inspiration-program

We are working in collaboration with Ramakrishna Mission on a personality development program (part of Human Excellence). Swami Krishnan Maharaj from Ramakrishna mission in Chengalpattu helped set up the program that we call Inspiration at Isaiamblam school. The program is across verticals with groups that include some teachers, volunteers and children from 6th to 8th grades in each group. We discussed the inspiration and how it feels when we get inspired. Then we learned about value-added education where we need to add value throughout our life. Then we split up into 6 teams and got a topic for each team. The team was mixed with teachers, STEM land volunteers, and children. Read more.

2017-2018 batch children’s reflection on STEM land

2017 – 2018 batch children from Udavi had a get-together. We’ve planned to meet them and have a conversation on how STEM land was useful for them and what they feel about STEM land. Children were in their summer holidays and organized a get together themselves. We all felt happy to see them back. We started the conversation by asking them “What do you remember or miss about STEM land and how is it used?” Read more

 

 

STEM Land in Aikiyam

Pratap and Murali started supporting Saravanan in initiating a STEM Center in Aikiyam School. Following are some updates from Aikiyam:


STEM Land in Thamarai

There were around 20 kids from 6th std above. Thamarai facilitators said that they wanted to teach mathematics using materials. To start with basics we used Dienes block to visualize the arithmetic operations. Children learnt about cube, rod and plate. I wrote the numbers and the operator on the board and asked children to find the answer using Dienes block. Children were split into four teams and worked as a team. Facilitators also learnt along with the children. Through this, children got clarity of how carry over works and why do we carry over and borrow.

STEM Land Projects at Auroville Schools

As most of the students were new to electronics, they were asked to build a simple battery holder
( Aravind Gupta Toys) and to measure the voltage from the battery using the multimeter. They were given different batteries and were asked to measure the voltage by keeping them in series. They were able to notice the change in voltages in different batteries and enjoyed the process. The students helped each other by sharing their knowledge with their younger buddies and we were able to see the Peer Learning build up. At the end of the day, they were able to learn about voltage, LED, copper, multimeters, and make the LED glow. Read more

What’sUp Integers

With the many STEM lands coming up we felt that Thematic Weeks across schools could be interesting for children to learn from each other across schools. We have started to learn and discover the different ways of how Integers can be looked at. Children can come up with projects, stories, modules explaining the same with a short 3 to 4mins This event starts on the 20/08/2019 and comes to close 31/08/2019. Both schools should interchange videos among them. Read more.

Automatic street light using LDR

While preparing the electronics class, we took “Automatic street light using LDR” as the circuit, where  “LED” turns ON in dark and turns OFF in bright place automatically. After giving the circuit connection, the LED didn’t turn OFF when it was bright. So we started analyzing the circuit, then we found out that, the R1 resistor was low when compared to the resistance of the LDR under the brightness. Read more

Sharing Knowledge across grades

6th-grade children are studying photosynthesis which is one of the topics in the EVS chapter. Meanwhile, 7th-grade children have been doing a model of a plant cell using clay under the guidance of Vasanthraj. Since now they have completed their model, they wanted to show and demonstrate it to the other grades. When they came to present to 6th grade, we noticed that we are in sync. Photosynthesis is related to plant cell, Thus the 6th graders find it very much useful in what they are studying and asked a few questions/doubts to the 7th grade and they answer their question. Inter-grade education like these is highly appreciated by teachers and students as well. Read more

Monthly Progress card for School Software

We created a 2nd version of the school software to make and assess the plan for children in Isai Ambalam School. Teachers were writing the monthly progress card by hand. We made this feature so that teachers can use the planning software and make the progress card. It would be useful to copy the progress card for multiple children and make changes that would save time. It helps to keep track and view the previous month’s progress card. Read more

 

Atrei Visit

Atrei is a geology scientist, who is our main support in Asha Bangalore. She had visited Udavi and Isai Ambalam school STEM Land. Later she had interacted with the youths that work in STEM Land. During the interaction, the youth had come up with a few questions related to geology. There was also a Judo demonstration by the Isai Ambalam School children. Atrei has a black belt in karate.

Support A Child Program 

In partnership with Asha for Education we have set up a Support a child program for Isai Ambalam School. The support of Rs.11,000/year covered some of the running expenses of the school including teacher’s salaries; nutrition; activities in sports, music, swimming, and STEM land activities. Last year we successfully found support for all children at the school by the end of the schooling year. This year the strength of the school has increased to 154 and the third phase is in progress.. A positive development  that we see this year is some of the parents are putting in funds to collectively support some children themselves.

Contributions towards STEM land can be directed towards
Auroville Unity Fund
with a note for STEM land and mail it to
Dr. Sanjeev Ranganathan,
STEM land Udavi School, Auroville,
Edayanchavadi, Tamil Nadu – 605101
All donations are 100% tax-deductible in India.

www.auraauro.com

 

Continue reading “STEM Land Newsletter Volume-7, Jun ’19-Sep’19”

React, Responsibilty and Realise/Realisation

~Saranya and Ranjith

This story is about reacting to the problem, realizing  and being responsible.  If problem occurs in our life  either we react to the problem or we do realize and react.

Parikshith

(The story behind Srimad Bhagavatam)

 Parikshit, was the son of veera Abhimanyu and Uttara and was the only successor of the Pandavas.

After Krishna left the earth, the Bhu-devi sank into uncontrollable sorrow due to the entrance of Kali (Kali yuga, the age we live in). All kinds of adharmic activites starting taking place. There was a slow withdrawal from our Vedic heritage, charity decreased, adherence to Satya or Truth reduced. But King Parikshit, with his power, controlled Kali and kept him under check. Kali however begged Parikshit Mahaaraja not to kill him saying that following the dharma of time, since it is the start of Kaliyuga, he must be allowed to come and must not be killed. Thus obeying the kaala-dharma, Parikshith allowed Kali to saty in some specific places such as places of ill repute such as gambling, slaughter houses and the like.

Once after a long hunt in the forest, completely exhausted, Parikshit reached the ashram of a great rishi, Shameeka maharshi. The maharshi at that time was in deep meditation and completely detached from the external world. Hence, he did not notice the exhausted Parikshit mahaaraaja. King Parikshit, completely exhausted and very thirsty, thought that the maharshi, despite being aware of his exhaustion, chose not to offer him even water. In anger, he performed an act he normally would never have done. The anger itself and the way it was manifested was due to the presence of Kali it is said, because the King was a strict follower of Dharma and would have never shown allowed himself to get angry in such a manner. Thus in anger he put a dead snake around the neck of the rishi to insult him and left the ashrama. A little while later, the rishi’s son Shrungi, arrived and saw the dead snake around his father’s neck. Realizing that Parikshit had done this act, he cursed Parishit saying within a week’s time, the King who had insulted his father thus would be killed by Takshaka, a mighty snake. Meanwhile the maharshi opened his eyes from his deep meditation and learnt about all that had happened.

Maharshi Shameeka told his son Shrungi “Anger is the main hindrance to tapas / sadhana / meditation. It is a big hurdle for one who follows the path of Dharma. He never should give way to anger. One must always think twice before he acts and never come into the clutches of anger. One’s anger is his greatest enemy. A person loses his dharma-adharma discrimination, does not think and causes harm to others and himself because of anger. Parikshit mahaaraja is not an ordinary king. It is because of him that Dharma is still alive on earth today. It is because of him that Kali has been restricted. ”

“Alas! What a great sin you have committed yourself today in awarding such a heavy punishment for the small mistake King Parishit committed! Your command of intelligence is still immature.  Completely protected by his just way of rule, all beings in Parikshith’s kingdom enjoy prosperity. Once he is killed because of your curse, this world will be full of thieves who immediately trouble innocent, unprotected souls like they are lambs. Because of this curse, there will be great social disruption. The wealth everywhere will be seized by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of money, women and animals. The righteous civilization, of humanity united in proper conduct of progress in the vocations and stages of life according to the Vedic injunctions, will at that time systematically be vanquished. The protector of the religion, the king, is a highly celebrated emperor, a direct, first class devotee of the Lord, a saint of nobility and a great performer of horse sacrifices. When he, hungry and thirsty, is stricken with fatigue, he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.”

“I am quite sure, Parikshit mahaaraaja will not give you a counter curse, such a great king that he is. Good people do good to those who help them and to those who hurt them as well. Mahatmas do not even feel the pleasures and sorrows, everything is same.”

The Maharshi thus regretted the curse of his son and certainly did not think that the insult by Parikshit was a sin. Generally saints are not distressed or happy when others pull them into worldly dualities because they are situated in the transcendence of the soul. These incidents (such as the dead snake put around his neck) they consider insignificant.

In the meantime, King Parikshit realised what he had done was something terrible, something he should not have done and thought thus, “Alas, it was uncivilized and evil what I did to the faultless, grave and powerful Maharshi. Because of the contempt of what I did against that godly person, I undoubtedly very soon will meet with a very troublesome calamity. I certainly hope that that will happen so that I will be relieved of my sins and never do anything like that again.”

Shameeka, knowing that now nothing could be done (since the words of his son Shrungi could not be undone), sent word to King Parikshit informing him about Shrungi’s curse. Thus did Parikshit mahaaraaja come to know about the curse.

Having heard that he only had seven days to live, Parikshit handed over his kingdom to his son and sat down at the banks of river Ganga in order to fast and observe religious rites unto his death. Many sages and wise men came to see him. Parikshit paid his respects to them and humbly spoke about his decision to fast. He stood with folded hands before them as someone whose mind is detached from worldly affairs. And thus it came to pass that the king, having arrived at that decision, fully self-controlled, seated himself near river Ganga. On this occasion the gods, who from the sky had seen that the king would fast until his end, all in praise scattered the earth with flowers, continually beating celestial drums in pleasure. All the great sages who had assembled there praised him for the wisdom he had thus shown.

It was at that time the great Suka Maharishi came that way, and he was received with great respect by the audience seated around King Parikshit. Then Parikshit asked him a question: “What is good for man, especially at this hour when his life is about to end? What should such a person hear about, repeat, do, remember and worship.”

How are we to answer this question? What is good for any person? In the freezing heights of the Himalayas, it is good to have a blanket over oneself. But a blanket is not good in the hot deserts of Africa; we would like to have cold water there. When we are hungry, it is good to have delicious food; when we are vomiting due to illness, it is good not to eat at all. Anyone who desires his or her own good cannot answer this question of what is actually good for oneself, because whatever answer we give, we will find it is connected to some cause thereof, and it is not the final good.

Riches will end, the body will wither, and life is uncertain. None of these things connected with life in this world can be regarded as really good in their ultimate sense. Then, what is really good for the human individual? The difficulty in answering this question arises because we think that we are living only in this world of sensory perception.

So, when we ask the question, “What is good for us at the end of time?” it is implied that it is that which is good for us at all times because, knowing the brittleness/short life of things in the world, all times are the end of time. The supreme good, therefore, is the Supreme Brahman, the Ultimate Reality that we call God which is intimately, vitally, inextricably connected with our own souls.

Suka Maharshi said, “This inquiry of yours, O King, for the good of all people is the best thing you can do. This subject of study carries the approval of Rishis. The subject matter is the supreme of all, Divine, God, is worth the attention. O Emperor, there are countless subject matters to hear about in human society that are of interest to those who, attached to their household life, are materially engrossed and are blind to the reality of the soul. They spend their lives, O King, with sleeping, making money, taking care of their family and other such related activities. They are unable to see the fleeting nature of these activities. For that reason, O King, He (Divine/God) must be discussed, glorified and remembered who as the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality, the controller and vanquishing Lord, frees those who are of desire from their anxieties.

Thus in response to the question Parikshit asked, Suka Deva narrated the stories of Bhagavatam. It is believed that this great scripture, the Srimad Bhagavatam, is like a delicious nectar. It is a combination of bhakti or devotion, vairagya or renunciation and jnana or knowledge. Jnana, vairagya, and bhakti – all the three are combined in a wonderful manner in the narration of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Krishna Himself is supposed to be living in this wonderful scripture. Whoever studies the Bhagavatam is supposed to be reading the life of Lord Krishna Himself.

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam

 kavibhiriditam kalmashapaham

shravana-mangalam srimad atatam

 bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah

 

your story which is like Amritam revives the scorched spirit of a man;

purifies a sinner, the holy men thrive on it.

To hear it is auspicious and peace generating.

Those who chant your name are the real benefactors.

Srimad Bhagavatam

STEM land meeting with all STEM coordinators

~ Murali and Poovizhi

Sundar (Udavi school STEM land coordinator) gave a demonstration on learning Algebra using weighing scale. He used few sketch pens and weighing cubes (1gm) . For example one side had 10 grams and the other side had 5 sketch pens when both were weighing equal. He asked us to find the weight of each sketch pen. Then we discussed and solved few such examples in solveme and came up with all possible algebraic equations.

Saravanan from Aikiyam school had brought a star tetrahedron in which children had learnt about pyramids and triangles.

Arun who is coordinating with AIIT explained about parallelogram and showed how a rectangle can be formed by bisecting the angles of the parallelogram.

 

STEM land in Thamarai learning center

~Poovizhi, Saranya

There were around 20 kids from 6th std above. Thamarai facilitators said that they wanted to teach mathematics using materials. To start with basics we used Dienes block to visualize the arithmetic operations. Children learnt about cube, rod and plate and recalled place values .  I wrote the numbers and the operator on the board and asked children to find the answer for it using Dienes block. Children were split into four teams and worked as a team. Facilitators also learnt along with the children. Through this, children got clarity of how carry over works and why do we carry over , borrow and whether we carry over ones, tens or hundreds based on the place value.

Mindstorm

A new Intern (Shivaram) has joined the team, he will be working on Responsive web page development (HTML and CSS), school software and learning to program the mindstorm.

Initially he built a small bot with wheels and learned powering and controlling the motors through the user interface. The batteries were discharging way too quick than expected and caused a halt in the learning.  Then I checked the back of the battery case there were 6 AA batteries connected in series resulting to 9V. I decided to use a power supply and showed him how to connect 🙂 . Now he was all set with uninterrupted power supply. By the end of the third day he had programmed a line follower.

Stewardship Stage 1, Session 2

~ Bhuvana,  Vasanth, Thamizh

Stewardship For New Emergence was held On  September 27,28,29 (2019) for session 1, followed by Oct  18,19,20 (2019) for session 2. This program is for our own growth and self exploration. It similarly aids for organisational development and team capacity building and we could see the growth significantly  by implementing the tools practically.

I learnt about myself and my inner values. When ever a problem  showed up I used to ignore the issue and tried  to escape from the situation. Later I realized that escaping from a problem will cause another issue, By using the stewardship tools I am addressing the problems and getting solutions then and there. Earlier I used to think  in a narrow way to get a solution , after attending the stewardship workshop I am able to think in multiple perspectives to get better solution for the problem.~ Vasanth

I noticed about my self that I am able to see my growth by practicing the tools in various situations. It helped me to be a better person than I used to be, before attending the workshop. All the tools are useful in exploring myself and for the growth of my organisation. After attending the workshop I clearly knew what I am deeply care about for my self and others, then I started to work towards  it. ~ Bhuvana

Before attending the workshop, lots of questions ran around my mind. Questions like who am I? What am I going to do to still myself at difficult times in my life etc. After completing the first session, I was able to explore myself deeply, identify myself and my values and things I care about for myself and others. The tools that I learnt helped me to still myself. It was also helpful to better myself. I liked the tool “forgive with condolence” the most which helped me to lighten myself with the heavy feelings which I was carrying for many years.~ Thamizhselvi

Talent Show

~Sandhiya

In Isai Ambalam children, Instead of inspiration work the children practiced and performed their talents (craft, sing with the tabala, power point presentation(Early people life style) and also children practice Inspiration sayings for presenting on Wednesday to all their parents.

   

 

Puzzle Solution Box-Isai STEM Land

~Sandhiya

In udavi each week a mathematical Puzzle is placed on the stem land notice board, where the interested students who wants to solve the puzzle writes the answer and drops the answer in the solution Box.

In this method, we implemented in all stem land. From this week onwards, In isai ambalam we  also started this method.

   

 

Independance Day Celebration Aug 15th @ Isai Ambalam School

~Saranya & Poovizhi

On India’s 73rd Independence Day, 15 August 2019, children from Isai  Ambalam school celebrated the Independence day with bonfire, run , flag hoisting and cultural events.

We started our day at 5:00 am with bonfire and meditation for an hour in Matrimandir amphitheater at Auroville.

Students started their run from Auroville Matrimandir went across
Auroville communities, villages and reached the school. They covered around 7.5 km and the STEM land
team and teachers at the school followed and encouraged children to complete the run. This video documents the run.