Udayan (7th-grade child) was sent to me when I was taking a class for 4th grade in Isaiambalam. That is when I first met him. He was sent to learn basic maths and teachers said that he is weak and not able to follow the regular classes. He then learnt the multiplication table and basic operations in math.
I see him sometimes playing in the playground but he never came back to me asking help in learning mathematics.
I was busy working on an afternoon when he came with a few handmade pieces of work and was happy to show his work to me. Some of the children from Isaiambalam school was sent to a workshop called “Craft mela” to learn crafts in Auroville. I was amazed at his potential and how much he could do with his hands at such a small age. I then remembered the days in my school when I used to do soap carving with my craft teacher.
Each child is special in their unique way. They need the right kind of motivation and environment to blossom. This child has truly found his way.
Government school teachers from Cuddalore visited STEMland a couple of weeks back. Lakshmi who works for Tata consultancy was inspired by the model of STEmland and she has been engaging with us since then.
We are working on a project right now called “mobile STEMland”. The idea is to carry teaching materials from schools to schools and teach math and science (This is ongoing).
Lakshmi is also interested to implement the idea in a government school in Cuddalore. As part of this, the math teachers and the school Headmaster from the school visited us. Children and STEMland facilitators showed some of the projects they did and also briefly brainstormed what STEMland is about. As part of their visit, we also conducted a session for them on “Stand and Fears “(A tool from Stewardship programme).
For more info on Stewardship programme, please see
Teachers and children from Creative school Bangalore visited Auroville mid-December 2019.
Some of our STEMland teachers had already visited this school last year for a Learning network conference (refer to our previous blog)
As part of their visit, they also visited Isaiambalam school. Children first introduced their names and different favorites like color, food animals, etc. It was fun for the children. Then children were divided into separate groups led by teachers of Creative school. Children did different activities like drawing, movements, etc.
In STEMland we take up one topic in math for a week (sometimes a couple of weeks) and children are asked to explore more about the topic. We started with integers for the first two weeks and children presented many projects to demonstrate what they know about integers. (more info on our previous blog)
Followed by that we had Abalone week in STEMland. Abalone is a strategy game (more info..) and is one of the popular games in STEMland. Children of all schools were encouraged to play abalone and compete with each other. Children practiced playing for a week with their pals.
On September 25th we had the final event. 42 children from Isaiambalam (which included ex-students) and Udavi school participated. We had a knock out round to start with and children were asked to compete with each other. Many of the children were knocked off and only four children were left to play the final round. The following four children competed with each other in a league fashion. The one who won maximum number of games was considered winner.
Ayush (ex-student of Isaiambalam)
Ayush won against all the contestants and was declared winner.
STEMland was offered a new space in Udavi. All of us were busyin setting up Stemland 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 the 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 were materials should come. Everything was planned before the move, we needed no after thoughts.
It was exciting for all of us including the children as they were going to use the space. Children were busy making projects to present for the inauguration. They were making projects in scratch, electronics, geogebra, mindstorms, etc.
Participation of the children of Isaiambalam :
Children of Isaiamabalam were asked to participate in the event. They were given separate stalls to demonstrate their projects. Most of their projects were based on science and physics.
Preparation for the event:
Children and STEMland teachers decorated the place. Balloons were tied up and colourful Kolams were drawn by the elder children. A symbol of The Mother that was decorated with flowers added beauty to the event.
During the event:
Teachers of Stemland each shared an aspect of stemland which was followed by lighting up of candles (Kuthu vilaku).
Two children from 10th grade Udavi also shared their experiences in STEMland.
Children had different stalls set up with theirbprojects. Teachers from Auroville and outreach schools, youths, children of Aikiyam school and many more guests were invited to interact with children.
Children were excited to show their projects. A child demonstrated how different frequencies can be heard by us. Games and puzzles were also displayed by the younger children. Naveen had a project on spray painting and children explained the physics behind it.
Children of Isaiambalam school have been studying about birds for some days. The 4th grade children were learning about local birds and their habitats. They were also interested in learning about beaks and legs of different birds and why they are different. We gave them access to computers, books and bird cards to learn and research. We also showed them documentary on Humming birds. They were fascinated to see humming birds being so swift in flight. Since they have learnt about flowers in the past children also picked up the fact that humming birds and flowers are interdependent on each other. Children cut out shapes of birds and hung them in strings to make them fly. Some of them were very happy to draw birds and colour them.
We also decided to take the children to Vedanthangal to visit some of the migrating birds.