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 organised a get together themselves. We all felt happy to see them back. We met them in our lab. Children were also happy to meet their friends again. We started the conversation by asking them “What do you remember or miss about STEM land and how is it used?” Children shared what they did in STEM land, they shared about their projects and what they learned. Most of them said they learned Scratch, Rubiks cube, Goanimate, solve puzzles and Alice . Some of them said they miss STEM land.

It was interesting to hear children sharing about their projects which they did long time back they really own the work they do. Few children said that they have chosen computer science, computer application and the others who have chosen courses like humanity and language have also chosen computer science as an elective paper. We asked them what prompted them  to take computer science. One of the child said she chose computer science since she miss STEM land. She is studying humanity and she is the first in her class. After the conversation children wrote their answers for few more questions and wrote their memories in STEM land.

Programme for Math Educators Day1

We started the program with the morning session where the participants were exposed to learn who they are and to learn why they do what they do. Participants came up with insights such as

  • I learned about my stand and my fear.

  • I came to know my Inner value of who I am and my fear.

  • How to get out of my fear.

  • How to release my fear of Judgement

  • To be authentic not to impress others

  • When I focus on my stand my fear will diminish

Then we continued with the basics Scratch course. We presented children’s stories which they made in Scratch. Then the participants also created their own stories in Scratch and learned motion and looks. After lunch we watched a video on STEM land in Udavi. Saranya presented a STEM land.

Again we continued to work on Scratch participants were asked to create a scratch project where they need to ask five questions in a way that the user can only move on to the next question only if the answer for the previous question is correct. Though that they learned sensing and control by asking questions and verifying whether the user input is correct or not. Those who completed the task moved on and created a maze game.

After a small break with some watermelon, lemon juice and bread we continued the day with Makey Makey and Finch. Arun presented Finch and gave a demo of how it can be controlled using scratch. Then Naveen made a project on Makey Makey. He did a piano and the participants also played it and enjoyed.

At the end of the day some participants who stayed went to STEM land and played few strategic games and were happy.

Arduino course in i-SMART classroom

-Poovizhi and Saranya

Vimal has completed B.E Mechanical Engineering and has experience in various profiles as execultive operations, Engineering maintenance, deputy manager- management systems, quality control in a glass container company 12 years. Presently with Redshade Robotics as a mentor cum trainer for embedded systems and robotics using Arduino for 2 years. He offered an Arduino robotics course for STEM land facilitators.

Siva from Isaiambalam school also joined us for the course. We started from the history of Arduino and moved on to digital input, analog input,send and receive from PC , drive AC and DC motors, Line follower using infrared sensor, solve boot loader issue and to create library to make programming easy for children to use Arduino. We also learned to snap4Arduino. He created a desktop version of Scratch3 and introduced it to us.

Session with Heidi Watts on Research

Aura Auro team, Kavitha and Nirmala from Isai Ambalam had a session with Heidi_Watts   on research in the i-SMART class room.

We started the session with what we wanted to learn. Then we looked at kinds of research as following

Qualitative research – Describe more to prove

  • Action research – making a change
  • Participatory action research – I am part of it and effecting the outcome and adding myself
  • ethnographic research – culture and forms

Quantitative research – Numbers and phenomenon. Prove again and again and say that it works. More about measuring.

  • Statistics
  • Bell curve – Large number  of people (10% needs a large number)

Mixed methods – Some description and some measurements survey, ask the same question in many different ways.

Methods – to be able to use more than one method in a research

Case study/studies – look for one thing; e.g one classroom, one set of children, one child (who is very reluctant and his progress through the term)

Formal observations – check list

Informal observations – observe every day at a particular time

Field notes – taken at class then and there

Journals – to think about the session and reflect later

Interviews, individual and group – one on one with child or with a group

Video and audio tapes – with video on needs to be careful as it changes the way one acts in from of cameras, with audios on can review at a later time.

Surveys –  Has sample of different sources and structures in comparison e.g rural/urban, young/old, men/women,

Then we had a look at the work done in kindergarten and how it can be considered a research.

STEM land 3rd birthday!!

On 16th October 2018 we celebrated STEM land’s 3rd birthday in Udavi school. A week ago children were back from their first term holiday and worked on creating projects to present during the celebration. Some children attended the scratch course conducted during the vacation and created projects on Scratch.

    

It was quite a busy morning, both children and STEM land youths were so energetic and were decorating and organizing the place. 9th graders from Udavi decorated the entrance of STEM land with colorful Rangolies. Tables were placed outside STEM land and children checked out the games and puzzles which they were interested and played them with the visitors.

    

Children and Teachers from Aikiyam and Isai Ambalam schools came. We commenced the event with a samosa and a banana for each.

    

It was a bit drizzling but we continued the celebration and STEM land youth gave an introduction about STEM land by saying the universal values and principles of STEM land, ground rules, learning rules and about the courses that we offer for youth in and around Auroville. One of our volunteers in STEM land who come to learn have also shared her experience and what she has learnt.

    

Then Sanjeev from Udavi followed by teachers from Udavi, Isai ambalam, Aikiyam  and Bridget from Thamarai lit up the lamp and begun the celebration. In front of the staircase the flames of the candles were beautifully dancing and saying “STEM LAND” and warmly welcomed everyone. Children’s projects were recorded and were projected.

    

     

Children from Isai Ambalam have also brought their projects and their EBD models. They were explaining their projects, demonstrated light sensing robot which they’ve made within two days and were also playing strategic games. Few Isai Ambalam  children also played games which were programmed by Udavi school children on Scratch.  The volunteers have also presented their project which lights up the LED serial lights only when someone stands in front of it and gets turned off automatically when no one is there.

   

It was unexpected and touching that the children from Isai Ambalam school have baked cakes and wrote STEM on them and brought them to Udavi. Visitors from Auroville and few people who have attended the courses offered by STEM land have also visited and played games with children. They went around STEM land and got to know what all we do and how children learn in STEM land and also solved some cast puzzles.

Everything went smoothly and the celebration ended with the same energy along with children’s drumming. It was fantastic to see both Isai ambalm and Udavi children drumming together. Children and visitors danced and enjoyed the celebration.

Sets game

A few girls from 10th grade had build a physical game with a chart representing 3 venn diagrams (governed by 3 randomly selected rules by one team) and a set of 27 games pieces (3 shapes, 3 sizes and 3 colors). The other team players needs to place a piece on one of the areas and ask if it fits there. The goal is to figure out the original rules selected for each circle of the Venn Diagram and demonstrate the understanding of set theory. A few 9th grade children choose set language as their goal as they played with this game. The game helped them in understanding the intersection of two and three sets. Then to make the game more interesting they modified the rules to guess the right answer within few attempts.

A 9th grader took this to the next level and did not just wanted to play the game on the chart but wanted to create a Scratch game to do the same. Children who did not know, and had the set language as in their syllabus learnt the concept by playing his game.

STEM Land April-June 2018

STEM Land Newsletter

Volume-1, Oct-Dec 2017

About STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) land
STEM land resource centres are located in Udavi School and Isai Ambalam School, two outreach schools of Auroville. Children come to STEM Land for Math, EVS and science classes.They learn Mathematics, Electronics, 3D Printing, Programming, Mindstorms (Robotics) and play strategic games that enhance logical thinking. The elder children take responsibility for their learning and plan their goals and only ask for support when they need it. This self-directed learning is based on Sri Aurobindo’s first principle of education, “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 and taking responsibility of his or her learning.
Building an Infinity cube with the 6th graders.

The 6th graders from Udavi school wanted to build something to show their parents. A few weeks before the class had built cubes from chart paper to understand volume. In our training with Ravi Aluganti at Isai Ambalam School on Kirigami we had encountered the infinity cube he had built. The structure that could move within itself was amazing and we decided that we will work with the children to convert the regular cubes to an infinity cube.

 

The infinity cube was showcased by the children in the Open House for the parents before the summer break. For the event they also put together other projects they had done in the term that they had found interesting. This consisted of electronic circuits that they had built. One project was a table top lamp operated of a 9V battery and decorated with foam and color . Another was LEDs that show the capitals of states in the India map. Another was a Buzzer that was connected to a battery using a switch.

Video on Infinity cube

Children building a tree house in their school

The children at Isai Ambalam have been wanting to build a tree house for some time. Josh who volunteered at STEM land at Udavi school last year was back this year. This time he spent time both at Isai Ambalam and in Udavi school and had some experience with building tree houses. He decided to work with the children to build a tree house.With the help of the children and some very nice tools Josh brought with him the children were able to help him use the bamboo on campus for the main sections of the tree house. Josh was very impressed at how comfortable and efficient the children at the school are at using tools.

Josh had also taught the children a song about trees in English and the children sang this song as well. The tree house community also supported us in the initial stages. The entire structure came up very quickly in a little over a week including sleep overs. The children measured and cut bamboo and the tree and created a complete platform and a short keep out wall that makes it feel like you are in a boat in the air. Read more

Teachers training and teachers visits to Isai Ambalam and Udavi school

A group of 44 teachers from Babaji Vidyalaya came to visit Isai Ambalam. We shared about what we deeply care about and explained  some of the EBDs (Education by Design) that children made. We showed them the pondclay room and later children took initiative to explain their own EBD projects. Children first spoke about the tree house. They explained in English and shared their work confidently to all the teachers.  They also showed the clay oven. The 6th grade children explained the India map that they built using red sand. Then they took the teachers to the garden and showed them the Kitchen waste water treatment plant

The teachers then visited the class room and interacted with the Isai Ambalam school teachers and students. UKG children told them the months in a year and the 6th and 7th graders showed them how they had organized their classroom as a 5S system. They also showed the Mindstorm robot that they built in STEM land and the projects they had submitted for Raman Award. Ayush from 7th standard presented his project in Scratch.Then Saranya took the teachers to STEM land and showed the materials, games, puzzles and projects that children have done. She also explained how we work including the ground rules and the check in check out system. 

In Udavi we gave a presentation on STEM land in the i-SMART class room. We also shared the stewardship (leadership) tools with them.Through the session every teacher was able to process what they really care about and found what they stand for, and notice their common fears. The teachers were happy and also took the stand and fear chart to put it on their notice board in their school to remind themselves about their values. Read more…

Smart board in i-SMART class room

We set up a new smart board at our i-SMART class room. Children from the 10th grade were very excited to see the smart board. They were discussing how they solved the questions in their Maths annual examination of the previous year. When Sanjeev was writing on the smart board with his finger instead of using the given pen, children were fascinated by it and all tried using the smart board. They discussed all questions from last term question paper and gave turn for each child to write the answers  they knew on the board. The 10th graders now use the smart board during their classes. The children often explore the advanced features and let us know.

Preparation workshop with Isai Ambalam school teachers

A stewardship workshop was arranged in the morning with all the teachers and volunteers at Isai Ambalam School during the summer vacation. The focus was on to find what one wants to accomplish on the up coming year and determine ones roles and accountabilities. It also allowed us to have a common language to help us be more effective as a group.

It was organized for three days, the table PCs were the members of STEMland. The workshop was delivered by Arun and Sundar. We were able to plan well for the next year after knowing what we really care about and knowing the change that we want to see. Read more…

Trail Blazers Conclave at IIMB (Bangalore)

Sanjeev was invited to the  trailblazers conclave organized by IIMB and Rotary as a panelist to talk about innovations in education. The talks and panel included those who were running large scale programs across the country and those who had working programs that could be scaled. We received interest in visiting and collaborating with STEM land. Read more

Contributions can be directed towards

Auroville Unity Fund
(with a note for STEM land)
and mail to Dr.Sanjeev Ranganathan,
STEM land Udavi School, Auroville,
Edayanchavadi, Tamil Nadu – 605101
All donations are 100% tax deductible in India.

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Education system should go beyond examination

Our research work

 

 

Priyan the tailoring bird

 In an EVS session 4th graders at Isai Ambalam School were studying about Indian birds. In the class we discussed about the birds which they have seen. During the discussion we talked about nests, how they are made and how each bird makes its nest differently. As an activity, Naveen, asked them to go out of the class like a bird and build a nest of any material with which they can build a nest. Everyone were excited and they ran out in search of the materials for their nest. They collected some twigs, hay, leaves. Priyan was able to make a tailoring birds nest out of the leaves,hay and thread he found outside.

He was making the nest even in his break time. While he was doing the nest Nithish from 3rd grade came and helped him. After Priyan’s sharing about his nest model in the assembly, Harish, Aasish and Elanchezhiyan made a nest model of a weaver bird. It was an example of how the work of one child inspires others into action. Read more..

WordPress course

Kshitij who attended the python Django course offered a WordPress course. It was 8 session course, two classes in a week. Technically, it was a lighter course compared to Python Django course. We learnt to design and create our own website. Feedback from the course indicated that they found the course interesting and enjoyed it. Read more

LNET Conference (Learning Network)  in Bangalore

STEM land contingent of 7 people attended the LNET conference in creative school at Bangalore for three days . The conference was primarily of practitioners from across the country and was also attended by teachers from different schools. Resource people conducted sessions on different aspects of education. In addition to the main sessions we also interacted with some resource people who offered us sessions at night on Mathematics and drama.
We also conducted sessions on all three days. We offered stewardship tools and an electronics session. We did stand, fear and deep listening and in the electronics session we did the seven segment displays to display their name. On the last day, we offered a session for the children from creative school and were very engaged and interested in it and felt complete and content only after completing their names.  Read more

Bonfire and Silambam with Mohanam (bamboo center)

As part of our sleep overs when children work on projects this year we collaborated with Mohanam cultural center. After working on projects at 6:30 p.m. the children go to the center  to learn drums (around a bonfire) and at 7:00 a.m.the next day morning they go to learn Silambam. This has added an art and musical dimension to the sleepovers Our children showed interest in learning arts and opened up as they danced around the fire. Some of us have joined both these programs and have a great time with the Mohanam team. Read more

Creative school children interaction and Jayashree’s session on healing

Jayashree from creative school in Bangalore came to STEM land with her school children as well as a volunteer who is interested in setting up a STEM land at their school.

The children from creative school  had completed their 10th and 11th grade taught the children mindfulness exercises specifically focusing on the 10th graders at Udavi for 3 days. They shared how these techniques had helped them keep calm and be fresh when studying and taking examinations. These included breathing techniques and affirmations. They also colored mandalas with their non-dominant hand and shared how they felt doing it. Children also practiced fire meditation with candles that could help free them of nagging emotions. Various aspects of being free of fear, being able to solve many math problems came up from the Udavi children in the interactions.

They also did sessions for children in Isai Ambalam school. They colored the Mandala and did the meditation techniques. 

Youth trainees at STEM land

Three engineers who have completed their engineering under graduate in electronics are interested learning in  programming  and hands-on electronics. They are now going through a python interactive course along with three of our team members. During the course participants are expected to do assignments and Sanjeev reviews the code and gives feedback.

Workshop on Siddha Medicine

Our work on well being for ourselves and our children coincided with the interest of the teachers at Isai Ambalam school and we invited a Siddha practitioner to the school. Vignesh had an interactive session to understand common understanding and distinctions between symptoms and root cause and then shared his knowledge on the history of Siddha medicine and current status of Allopathic medicine and how people are using it at many times to address symptoms.

He also talked about the collection of toxins and how day to day living practices and natural mechanisms if allowed to run their course detox the boxy.
He stated the benefits of many herbs and trees around campus depending on the conversation. He also gave natural alternatives for the daily use of products such as shampoo  and tooth paste. Later a similar workshop was also conducted for children after which there is much buzz about making our own natural products. We have so far made toothpaste and one group of children are considering maintaining a mill. Read more

Support a child

In partnership with Asha for Education we have set up a Support a Child  program for Isai Ambalam School the school we all volunteer in. The support will cover the needs of running high quality programs at the school including teachers salaries; nutrition; activities in sports, music, swimming and STEM land activities. The support for a child is Rs.11,000/year ($168/year). Please sign up to support a child here.

Our Team

We are a team of 9 engineers at STEM land. Our projects range from python programming and more recently to analog VLSI layout.

(Left to right ) Poovizhi, Ranjith, Arun, Logeshwari, Sanjeev, Pratap, Sundar, Saranya, Naveen

Meet the team

 

 

 

Finding the Pattern using shapes and colours

3rd grade children from Isai ambalam school are studying about patterns. They were given an activity to make some design out of different shapes and colors. They split into teams and started to create their own designs. Later they all went through each one’s design and found the pattern in the design. Children were able to find the pattern that was used in the design and discussed about it. They were so interested to use the material and it was easy for them to understand about patterns. Later they were able to find patterns from their class room. They came up with things like window grill, wall, Leaves and so on.

Creative images using leaves by 3rd graders

3rd grade children are studying about leaves and its uses. They collected different types of leaves and made different types of images like rat, butterfly, penguin, Ganesha and elephant.

It was interesting to see children come up with their own ideas. Children shared the leaves that they have collected among themselves. After completing it they wanted to fill the remaining space so they collected some flowers and decorated it and some of them drew grass around the paper.

At the end of the class they shared their work to their friends and displayed it in their classroom. 4th grade children also came and saw their work and the 3rd graders were proud of their work.

ESL session at Learning network

Using ESL and bilingual activities to simplify English language teaching

I attended a session on ESL creative school, Bangalore.

We wrote our names and split it as per the phonetics and wrote our names in our mother tongue and split it using hyphen.

We did the same for our friends name also.

We framed sentences and translated them to our mother tongue.

We went through small booklets with short stories as a team and filled out reading record with title, interesting word and stars and chose the best book of the day.

We shared our best story with other teams.

Then we made our own booklets and came up with our own short stories. We also drew pictures and colored our booklet.

It was fun and interesting when we translated the sentences from our mother tongue to English.