Volunteer in STEM Land

Pranav (who left Google) to volunteer with us for 4 months generated interest in children to work on mobile apps. Children in STEM land have created mobile applications on MIT app inventor. Children felt easy to buit an app by coding as they are used to do using scratch. He also helped with the visualization software for children track their progress. He supported children to record their projects to present during the inauguration of i-SMART class. He was very friendly with children but then he had to leave. The day before he had to leave, we asked him few questions and the answers he gave are https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rS6uQmeX-U&feature=youtu.be

9th and 10th activity class

On Tuesday 9th and 10th had activity class. Children from 10th wanted to make a magnifying glass. They took a plastic bottle and carefully cut out two circles. They joined those two circles at the edge using glue gun and left a small gap. They dip it into a glass of water and filled it. But they found that the water was leaking. They tried it again using Fevistick. Their exploration creative ideas were really inspiring. With the remaining parts of the water bottle that was been cut were been joined together and formed a mini water bottle.They put some mud inside the bottle and kept a flower and few grass and made it as a flower vase.


On the other hand a 9th student had a mobile phone which was not working. He found that the battery was not charging properly.One of the wire that goes to the battery was broken. He soldered it and charged the battery and turned it on. It was great to see that the mobile gave and sound and turned on. He called everyone who were there in the room and showed them that he made it to work. He was so happy to see that it was working.

I-smart class inauguration and the night before it

On Saturday we inaugurated the Ismart class room in Udavi. 9Th std children from Udavi and children from Isai Ambalam had a sleep over on Friday to decorate the place. Children from Isai Ambalam brought their projects to demonstrate during the inauguration. They were so excited to see the Ismart room. They kept all the chairs out and cleaned the room. Then they all went to STEM Land and brought all the electronics components and the materials to the smart room. Also they took the mindstorm and the games with them and kept in the room. All the children and the facilitators played a game where they were split into pairs and shared three things about them to their partner. Then each one of us got up and shared about our partner to everyone in the circle . It was really great to play the game through which the children from Isai Ambalam and Udavi came to know about each other and formed a good relationship between themselves. Then children shared what they learned and enjoyed in STEM Land and they explained how the mindstorm works.

They played games and were enjoying. They even chose their place in the room to present their projects for the next morning. Later everyone had dinner and got freshen up and watched a Ratatouille movie. Then it was time to sleep and everyone went to sleep. The next morning children got freshen up and split their work among themselves. Some of them decorated the the place using colour papers and some of them made a Rangoli in front of the room and beautifully coloured it. It was interesting to see children taking up responsibility by themselves and giving their best. The inauguration was from 10.30 to 2.00. By 10.30 A.M 8th std children came with their projects and games and organised their place. They decorated the Rangoli with colourful flowers and inaugurated the room by lighting up the candle. Every one were informed the purpose of the I-smart class and each one of the children, facilitator, volunteer and guest lit up a candle and started the day. It was nice to see all the candles floating on the water gently as everyone went around the room and explored their learning. Children gave lot of effort to complete their projects and to record them. Their recorded projects were played on the projector and children were challenging the guest and the volunteers to play games with them which was the fun part. A volunteer who came to learn programming had also did a project in scratch and presented it. Isai Ambalam children showed their EBD on honey bee and their bamboo torch, Udavi children showed their mindcuber which solves Rubik cube, mobile applications that they have created, visual representation of algebraic identities, puzzles and games. The I-smart class was filled with technology and logical thinking which inspired everyone. Then everyone had some snacks. Then the 9th and 7th graders came with their projects and replaced 8th graders. They lit up the candles one by one and started their presentations. Everyone enjoyed the day and were really impressed by children’s growth and their interest towards technology and logical thinking.

Visitors to STEM Land

We usually have visitors to STEM Land and this week around 20 trainees of the Puchki program(trains teachers to take up environmental aspects) in Auroville had come to STEM Land. They were so excited to see what the children were doing in STEM Land. They were also happy to see how things were organized in STEM and how children learn. They said that, the way children worked here had really inspired them to learn more. Children solved the rubrics cube, demonstrated Lego mindstorm and showed their projects made in Scratch and Geogebra and also explained to them how what they did works. The visitors also put on their logical thinking hats and worked on a few cast puzzles. They saw some children de-soldering the old project kits at the soldering station also asked a few questions to the children about it. The room was filled with lots of energy and eagerness to learn and there I realized the purpose of STEM Land to learn, grow and teach.

Story of minus into minus is plus & programming for the same

Children from 8th were learning algebra and had difficulties with the sign operations. They were able to come up with stories of multiplying minus into plus, plus into minus and plus into plus but they couldn’t come up with a story of minus into minus. They asked the volunteers and facilitators to tell a story for it but they couldn’t get the right story for it. Sanjeev gave a story and explained how negative value multiplied with negative value becomes positive. Children even tried the story on the staircase. They closed their eyes and walked backward (negative) and facing down the staircase (negative) and when they opened their eyes they saw themselves climbed few steps up(Positive). They were excited and were able to implement it on their algebraic equations. They had fun while learning it.

Goanimate story:

Scratch program that randomly takes two numbers and does the same story.

link to scratch code: https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/296602417/


Quadcopter Quadcopter

In STEM Land 9th std children were very eager to do the Quad copter. They wanted to do something different which inspires themselves as well others. We are building an i-smart class room and the 9th std children wanted to paint the room themselves so they stayed the night at the school and painted the room. After the painting they saw a Movie called October sky. By seeing the Movie children got inspired and first thought of building a rocket, but then settled down to build the quadcopter. They felt that since they are in 9th std and would be busy next year with the board examinations they should make full use of STEM Land this year and do something interesting. They thought of it and came up with an idea of making a Quadcopter. They started researching online and looking at videos and worked out the parts they needed to build a quadcopter.They took a DVD and carefully cut it with equal sides and placed the RF control receiver board, four motors and their propellers on it and soldered them. Children used the Big shot camera battery from STEM Land and connected it to the receiver. While connecting the battery and the receiver a pin broke.They traced the pins and soldered connectors and fixed the problem. They figured out to connect the transmitter with the receiver by keeping the transmitter and the receiver so close to each other and pressed the button and waited for few seconds and connected it. They were so happy and eager to finish it and were working on it even during their break. They have almost completed assembling the Quadcopter and now they are working on it to make it fly. Currently it hovers a few cm from the ground before loosing contact with the transmitter. The 8th and 7th children were also looking at it enthusiastically and enjoyed.

Rain maker

In Udavi, Students have activity class once in a week and some of the children choose STEM land as an activity class. Last Friday we had activity class with 7th and 8th graders. Children wanted to do very interesting project so they thought of a problem that they face in the school. They have gardens in the school and they water the garden daily. But during the holidays one of them had to come the school and water their garden. So they came up with an idea of watering the garden automatically came up with an idea of making a rain maker for their gardens. We learned how a relay works and also about the water solenoid valve. We tested the valves that we had in STEM Land by connecting it to a 12V battery and connected the valve to a water pipe and tested it. Luckily all three valves worked. Then we connected it to the Arduino and programmed a simple blinking program and tested by changing its delay. This Friday we learned to charge the 12V battery using the solar panel and we measured the current that we get from the solar panel. when there was bright sun we got around 0.41 A. Next week children will solder the circuit on the PCB and will implement it on the garden.

Soldering the battery connectors

7th graders of Udavi school were soldering the battery connectors with the header pins to use them on the bread board during their activity class. While soldering the connectors they learnt how to solder things and also learnt the names and the use of the components which they used for soldering. When they made some mistake they were able to de-solder it by themselves and corrected their mistake. They worked as team and helped each other to complete their task.

Basic electronics course

 We do basic electronics course In STEM Land for people who are interested in electronics. This course is offered by Nagendra krishnapura an associate professor in the VLSI group of the department of Electrical Engineering of the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. We started the course on 22nd of July. It is a 12 weeks course. Around 22 youths in and around Auroville have registered for this course. Monday and Wednesday is the video session from 5.15 P.M to 7.00 P.M. On Thursday it is the session for discussion on the doubts from the video and helping with the assignments.On Saturday it is the practical session by Sanjeev Rangathan where things are learnt by doing hands on activities. Last Saturday we were glowing up the LEDs with Capacitors and measured the brightness of the LED by connecting it with resistors. This Saturday we learnt about transistors and switches and to control the LEDs by connecting the switches in Series, parallel and toggling. We all enjoyed the session as well as we learnt. 


Makey Makey

9th graders finished their assessment and made a scratch program by setting different sounds to various keys. They played musics by conducting different materials like paper, compass, leaves and some aluminium pieces. They worked as a team and enjoyed a lot. They played drums sound and came up with their own music which made everyone to come and see what they were doing.