Author Archives: Prathap Ganasan

Saturday at Isai Ambalam School

How to make a concrete structure using cement, jelly and sand. Children wanted to make a beam around the pond. To make a beam they wanted to they need a iron rods. We bought the iron rods and the tools to bend the rod into a rectangular structure. First time when I made a TMT Ring it didn’t come in proper way. 5th time I got it correctly. Children were excited and they were watching me seriously. They found the patterns and how to bent the iron rod. One child from 4th standard took effort to draw the actual ring size using a on the surface where I was making the rings. Then Children started to do and they found the pattern how to bend the rings. They told the that they need to bend it 90 degree. All the children used the ring structure that the boy drew which was very useful to bend the ring at the right size.

Area with Isai Ambalam children

In Isai Ambalam School I was introducing multiplication as area to the 4th graders. Children were having difficulty to do two digit multiplications. So we started using graph sheet to solve multiplication. We started with single digit and then we build on it. I found that using graph sheet children could only see the area and couldn’t build on it. Then children started to use Denies block. Children who were having difficulty started with the Dines block. Children who felt confident started to use scale and measuring tape to measure the object. In STEM land children started to measure the entire object which were in rectangle and square shape. They kept the Dines block on each object that they wanted to measure. They started with a note book and ended measuring the white board. Children also understood that they need to know the length and width to find the area. Children were able to calculate and checked how many 1cm² (centimetre) cube can fit in that area. I also introduced the unit convention to the children I told cm square. One child wrote cm and drew a square on top of cm. Then I explained him that what he wrote was correct and for writing convention we write it as cm².




Sri.M visit to Isai Ambalam School

A person called Sri.M has been invited to Auroville. He is considered to be a living yogi who has apprenticed with Babaji in the Himalayas. He is a spiritual guide and runs Satsang foundation that runs schools, health care facilities and a Walk of Hope that spans 7500 km over 11 months. Before he came to school teacher made small kolam at the entrance and decoration with flowers. When he came to Aurovill he came to Isai Ambalam School. Many visitors came along with him to the school. He came and sat and spent about 20 minutes interacting with the children. He asked the children to sing a song. Children sang a song about Mother. Then children presented a bamboo torch and a STEM land brochure. Then Sanjeev Ranganathan gave a brief introduction about the school. The visitors started interacting with the children in small groups. Along with him children started to walk for some kilometre and came back to school.




Learning Festival at Indiranagar higher secondary school in Pondicherry

Learning festival was a workshop which happened in Indiranagar HSC. The workshop was happening for 4 days and we went for 2 days. We were invited to do some session regarding basic electronics. We decided to light up children’s name using a 7 segment display. We took 6 voltage sources, batteries, wires, extension chords, strippers, multi meters, 7 segment displays and our STEMland brochures. On the first day we had three sessions. we started the session with few minutes of concentration. We were informed that per session we will have about 30 students and 4 teachers.



  Day 1

On the first day the first session was handled by Sanjeev and we all supported him. We got 30 students and we split them in a group 3 to 4. He started the session by showing the example name board made by Saranya. Then he introduced the multi meter. In multi meter he showed them continuity mode. He explained how that once they connect two probes from the multi meter they will receive a beep sound. After that he introduced 7 segment display. Then he gave a 7 segment display to each student. Then asked them to draw it on their note. Next he show how to connect a multi meter with a 7 segment display to light up each segment. He asked them to find pin connection for each  segment. When students figured the pin connection connection he introduced bread board connection to the children. He explained bread board connections and how it works. Then each one of us started to support them in small group. Since we were running out of time. At end of the session children and teacher were able to light up at least 2 alphabets using the display.  Children and teacher felt that they learnt something new and they were excited when they lit the first alphabet with the display. Then the next two session was handled by Sundar. After the session we went around to see other events that were happening in the workshop.

  Day 2

On the second day we had 5 session and each session was handled by a facilitator from STEM land. The first session was handled by Saranya, Ranjith, logeshwari, Poovizhi and Pratap. We also two children from Isai Ambalam School to support us. These two children actually did a great job in handling a group and engaging all the children in their group.


A Student who came for the first session couldn’t accomplish what he wanted accomplish. His name was John and he asked that he wanted to come tomorrow to finish his name.We told him to come. Then the next day he turned up and started to connect the 7 segment display to light up his name. He was able to lit his name before lunch time. Then he started to handle a group in the afternoon. The boy was able to inspire a teacher who came to visit our session. Then the teacher also started to learn and he was able to light up 3 alphabets. In the evening the education minister came to meets us that time John showed his work to him and it was an inspiring moment.


Inverter with Arduino

Barani from 8th standard wanted to learnt something in electronics. He came and asked that he wanted to build an inverter using a Arduino. It was new for me so I told him lets learn together. Then we took all the components that are need to build a inverter. We started by writing a code to blink a LED at 50Hz. Then we dumped the program in the Arduino. Then we connected it with a CRO to see the square waveform. The square waveform was generated and we were able to see it. Then we connected the remaining circuit on bread board. We used a voltage source from which we got 9 volt DC input and fed it to a transformer. The transformer was giving 230 volt AC output. Then we connected a 5 Watts bulb to the output. The bulb turned on. We leant That using a 9 volt DC supply can give a 230 volt AC output. We really enjoyed doing that. During the week we had a Skype call with a school in Italy. Barani was able to explain the whole process to them. He felt very happy to show and share his project and learnings to them.

epiSTEME 7 Conference

Homi Bhabha Centre
– Pratap

We attended a conference and also presented a poster at  epiSTEME7 conference in HBCSE (Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education) at Mumbai. It was an international conference held from  Jan 5th to 8th 2018. Many people from different countries had come and presented their research and review papers at the conference. The conference was about research on Science, TEchnology and Mathematics Education. We wrote a paper on “Fostering Responsibility in Learning in Rural Schools”. Our paper was selected for a poster presentation. Five of us from STEM land – Aura Auro Design Arun, Poovizhi, Pratap, Sanjeev and Sundar went for the conference.



IIT Bombay

On Jan 5th we attended the conference and in the evening we went to IIT Bombay. There we met students from Educational Technology department. We met Prof. Chandan who is with the Educational Technologies group. Two years back the group had interacted with them and we wanted to re-establish a research relationsip with them. Chandan had recently joined the fledging department and had volunteered with Sanjeev with Asha and was interested in our research. We presented our work to the department PhD students and professors. Sanjeev started the presentation with 2 videos of STEM land talking about how we started and then the four of us presented our epiSTEME7 poster to them. We also shared about our research topics which we have been working on. Arun’s research topic is Deep learning of Mathematics through materials and real life projects”, Sundar’s topic is Developing leadership via STEMLand” and Poovizhi and my topic is “Altering Factors Influencing Student’s Attitude Towards Thinking Mathematically”.

We got a very positive response about our work and some of the students were interested in helping us refine our research to make it relevant to upcoming conferences.

TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

On the second day we went to TISS to present our work with some students. There were about 25 students and 4 teachers. They were inspired about what we do. After the presentation students asked many question and we answered those question. Some of the questions were about scaling STEM land. We showed the news letter and got all their email address in order to send a soft copy of the newsletter. Some of the youth wanted to visit STEM land. One of the youth remarked that her entire perspective on education had been rattled and it was still sinking in that children can be responsible for their own learning.


The 3rd day we were in the conference the whole day. Every day they start with a review talk which lasts for about 45 minutes. We had breaks after every 2 – 3 papers were presented. During the break time we interacted with as many participants. During the conversations we exchanged information about what we do and our research. We were the youngest participants in the that conference and rest of them were older than us. One of the participants a dean from South Africa made a video about us to show in her country. We had a buffet system during dinner. We met a person who was making puzzles with binding wire. We all took some puzzles from him for the children in STEM land and his contact and have invited him to visit us a teach us wire art.

Then on the 4th day we attended sessions till the afternoon and Sanjeev also chaired a session.

Later in the evening we again went to TISS this time to present to the professors of the school of Social Work. Their perspectives were very different and probing and it helped us understand our own work differently. When they realized that at Isai Ambalam most of the children we work with are Dalits they were very interested in the relevance of this work to children with difficult backgrounds in homes, institutions and on the street. After the presentation the teachers were willing to help in our research paper especially the surveys. They asked us to create a program package that can be offered to other school teachers as a workshop.


EBD project Animals house

In Isai Ambalam school started doing a EBD (Education by design) on birds and animals house. Children from 1st and 2nd standard got the materials from Pondy. They saw some videos in Internet about the animals house. How do animals live in forest and in village. Sakthi and Vasanthrani helped children to create a house for each animals . They have used thermo col, cardboard and ice sticks they started building the house. They have built a small village using plastic dolls of tree, domestic animal, and plastic grass. They have completed the cow shed. Children were excited in  building a cow shed. They were concentrating in doing their work.



Cutting a banyan tree

The pond that we built with children got a crack. We were figuring out how the crack came. There was a banyan tree which was near the pond. We asked a mason how this crack  has formed. Then finally he told it is because on the tree. Then we started cutting the tree with some people from Auroville. While they were cutting Isai Ambalam children were very excited. They  were asking many question to the wood cutter. They were excited when they used few ropes to get the branches to the ground with out damaging the house. Children saw the process how to get the branches down. They learnt about the equipments that they were using, such as chain saw, Carabiner, helmet, knife, different kinds of ropes, pulley  and a ear muff. They explained how to use all the materials. Children also started taking notes and started helping then to move the branches. Children came to know that the rope that they used can hold 2.2 tons of weight. They started drawing the cutting process in their note. Now they have a idea how to cut a tree using the equipments. Children were happy that they have protected their pond.



Patterns with 2nd standard

In Isai Ambalam school 2nd graders had a difficulty in finding the pattern. When I use Dienes blocks and jodo cubes to identify the patterns. I asked the children to arrange the cubes in different orders that they have seen it in real life. I split  them into two groups and asked them to arrange th cubes in patterns. They started doing that and then shared how they arranged the numbers from 1 – 10.  When I used the Dienes block it was difficult for them to tell how many blocks are used visually. Then I used Jodo blocks it was big and they were in different colors. Children were able to tell the different patterns. They were able to see it visually and they were able to draw it on a paper.  They helped each other to identify the pattern. They were able to tell the different patterns that they saw in their house.



Isai Ambalam Pond

In Isai Ambalam school for one week there was no water. The bore water didn’t work. We started having a conversation how to over come this problem. During that week it rained a lot. Since it is a slope the water didn’t stay there. The ground was wet. Children wanted build a pond. They started digging the behind Sanjeev’s house. They measured the length of the pond. Then they started digging the pond. After digging they wanted to cement it. Children started buying bricks and cement bags. During sleep over we started cementing the pond and it was really a good experience with children.

We started with the first layer of cement and let it to dry. Then fixed chicken mesh on top of the first layer. We added mesh to prevent cracks. Then again we started add cement as a third layer. Then the pond didn’t look nice without a boundary. So we bought bricks with the children and started making a cylinder shape. Finally we smoothen it with cement. After that we wanted to leave make a sitting bench. We built a sitting bench.

Then we inaugurated the pond by leaving the fish in the pond. We also estimated how much cement bags were used. We learnt to find the volume of the cement bag and the pond. We also learnt to use the mason tools. Children were able to do in a group and everyone had equal opportunities to share their work.