STEM Land Newsletter
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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 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