Basic Skill Programming

~Saranya

I learnt to create list, append,add and function notation

Make list using single quote .

Example:

‘(10 20 30 40)  => (10 20 30 40)

Adding an element in the front of the list using cons:

Example:

name='(1 2 3)      =>  (1 2 3)

cons(7 name)    =>(7 1 2 3)

Merging two list using append:

Example:

firstList=(‘1 2 3)                        =>(1 2 3)

secondList='(4 5 6)              =>(4 5 6)

total=append(firstList secondList)       =>(1 2 3 4 5 6)

Movement Activity

~Saranya, Ranjith and Pratap

We had a session with Mrinalini on movement based activity.

1.Activity (Instruction based ):

First she asked us to walk around in the room without touching others. Next she asked us to smile when you see a person without stopping your walk. Then she asked us to turn a face when you see people in front of you (basically avoid them). Then she said  welcome everyone by one word and that word can’t be repeated. Everyone should say new word it can be anything(language was optional) (for example: object name,  welcome words,hai, hello etc….)

From that I was able to notice that how much I contribute I will received more than what I contribute.

2. Supporting activity:

She made us into few groups ans asked one person to sit in the center of their circle that person will be covered by scarf. We(person sitting in the center) need to think the scarf covered person as a snail/butterfly egg and it is suffering we(remaining people) need to help that snail/butterfly egg to get out of from suffering. Remaining people need to think of animal and they need to act like that animal without talking (need to use only sounds). Then she said everyone to start…..then she stopped us asked one question which was do you asked that snail/butterfly egg that what kind of help that need from us?….everyone said No.

In that room everyone were willing to help but without asking that question to themselves what kind of help that others need?.

3. Paper sharing:

We get into pairs and kept sheet on the floor then we(partners) kept one leg on that paper then she asked us to bring that sheet one side of the room to other side and check whether the paper is tared or not.

During this activity we were able to listen her instruction carefully and follow it also we were able to  build coordination between us etc…

These activities helps me to reflect on what I was doing. In STEMland that what’s we actually do. If children were struggling we let them struggle on their own if they can’t at that time only we step in. Then we track children progress and we knew at what levels they (each children) were there.

TLM for Percentage

Ravi from asha came to teach us to make material for learning. Each and individual choose one topic to make material. We selected topic call percentage.

WORKING:

In that we have made a rectangle from the circumference of a circle with the radius 5cm ,total height of the rectangle is 31.4cm as same as the circumference of the circle, from that we have assumed it as the 100% so that we have combined the circle at the top rectangle and it is been measured with the thread from the top of rectangle so that students can imagine the percentage and we have used to calculate the various percentage.

STEMland Activity

~Saranya and Poovizhi

I and 7th grade children worked on Aravind Gupta toys. I and  Pranauv watched video on how to make puppet toy and we worked on it together  and we able to complete it. Here are the some snapshot of puppet.

Multiplication

Here we have created project on multiplication using graph in scratch. It helps children to understand double digit number multiplication by looking at this program.

In that project violet is Hundred’s Green is Ten’s and Red is One’s.

Lines and Lines

~Saranya

2nd Grade at Isai Ambalam we were working on different types of lines. Children learnt standing line, slanting line, sleeping line and curved line. We split children into 4 groups and I gave 1 task to each group. Each group built different shapes example alphabetic’s, house and toys with some constrain, which is 1. they should use all the 4 lines. 2. specific constrain 2-standing line, 3 slanting line, 6 sleeping line and 1 curved line etc…

Children did creatively  they had done the lines task. Each group built different shapes and they worked together. I was able to see team work ex: one child drawing before pasting the stick on the paper another child giving idea to put things around and in, another child cutting the sticks with needed size.

Solving 4×4 Rubik’s cube

~Saranya, Arun

Most of the children who come to STEMland can solve 3×3 Rubik’s cube.

What’s next??

We now have bought 4×4 Rubik’s cube and this made a few of the students curious. Now 3 children from class 7, 8 and 9 can solve 4×4 cube. This only took them for about 3 weeks to figure out how to solve it.

Following is a video of a child (padmanaban) from 7th grade solving 4×4 cube. He solved it under 2 minutes.

~Saranya

Volume-6, Feb’19-May’19

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 of 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.

Reflections of STEM Land team of the year 2018-2019

Each year since our inception we have used the new year as an opportunity to reflect on how our year went – what we learned, how we grew and what was meaningful in the last year at work and with children. This year we did this exercise at the end of the financial year. We were a little more rigorous this year and had a format to track our growth as individuals and as a team. We noticed that in the last year we had spent over 60 days for our learning and growth from participating in stewardship workshops, to those in python-django, raspberry pie to Vipassana.

AV Marathon 2019

One of the aspects that came up in our reflections were the need to focus on our fitness. An opportunity to kick start this came through the Auroville marathon ’19 took place on Feb 10th. Many of us ran the 10 km run that was part of the event. The STEM Land team gathered near the start line at 7 a.m..

Switching to e-cycles

As engineers we look at using technology for good. As part of this effort we looked at our own practice of how we come to work, travel between schools (and the need for more exercise). We decided to do something different and switched to e-cycles as a whole team. We tied up with Kinisi a company in Auroville that rents e-cycles.

It has been around 2-months since our switch to cycles. A couple of a children who live near Isai Ambalam got excited and interned at Kinisi for a moth learning about cycles and e-cycles. The teachers at Isai Ambalam school are also inspired to make this switch in June.

Programming for Educators Workshop

In the summer we took the opportunity to share our experience with educators and teachers in an intense 8 day long workshop to support them further or start their own STEM activities. This course focused on  the use of programming with children to learn Mathematics. We had diverse participants, seven from around Auroville in schools and centers that want to start STEM land, 10 from (Asha) Chennai who supplement computer classes in government schools and one each from Gujarat, Mumbai and Sittlingi. While some were teachers working with children others were part of school management this diversity was valuable as the program was structured now only to develop skills, but also competencies as well as inner capacities. A picture of the participants and facilitators is in the title of this newsletter.

Children from 6th grade worked on ladder EBD. We wanted to make the ladder with natural materials, so we used bamboo to make it. Before making the real model children made a small model to get an idea of how the ladder will look. They learnt the different views of  a ladder. In this small model, children used bamboo sticks, glue gun, thread and wheels.

Puzzle Solution Box

Each week a Mathematical puzzle is placed on the STEM Land notice board. Students who want to solve the puzzle will write the answer and drop the answer in the Solution Box. The students  took it upon themselves to have a solid box for this and went about building one.

Sanjeev had an interview with Dreamvisions Radio Station with Dr. Monica Sharma (ex-director of UN) as host on conscious business and conscious learning. The show went on-air on 2nd of May 2019. Sanjeev shared how the tools and templates for radical transformational leadership have supported we do with the children to be profound; and, at the same time, supportive of the growth of the team members, enabling them to be intensely engaged in the technology. Similarly, interacting with a high quality international team at Aura Semiconductor Pvt. Ltd. helped us get become proficient engineers.

Summer Scratch Course with children

During the summer the children at Isai Ambalam had requested a scratch course. We decided to do one with children fom Isai Ambalam, Udavi and a few children from Auroville. We formatted the course similar to what we had done for the educators. Children who had graduated from STEM land at Udavi last year and the year before joined as facilitators for this course.

Research session with Heidi

STEM land team along with 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 and went over quantitative and qualitative research.

React, Respond and Realization: Brain Presentaion

~Saranya and Ranjith

I learnt about three brain. Which is,

• Reptilian Brain
• Limbic Brain
• Neocortex Brain

Reptilian Brain:

• It controls the body’s vital functions such as heart rate, breathing, body temperature and balance.
• Main structures found in reptilian brain is two:
1. Brainstem 2. cerebellum

Limbic Brain:

• It’s emerged in the first mammals.
• It record memories of behaviours that produced agreeable and disagreeable experiences, so it is responsible for what are called emotions in human beings.
• The main structures of the limbic brain are the hippocampus, the amygdala, and the hypothalamus.
• The limbic brain is the seat of the value judgments that we make, often unconsciously, that exert such a strong influence on our behaviour.

Neocortex Brain:

• The neocortex first assumed importance in primates and culminated in the human brain with its two large cerebral hemispheres that play such a dominant role.
• These hemispheres have been responsible for the development of human language, abstract thought, imagination, and consciousness. The neocortex is flexible and has almost infinite learning abilities.
• The neocortex is also what has enabled human culturesto develop.

React, Responsibilty and Realise/Realisation

~Saranya and Ranjith

This story is about reacting to the problem, realizing  and being responsible.  If problem occurs in our life  either we react to the problem or we do realize and react.

Parikshith

Parikshit, was the son of veera Abhimanyu and Uttara and was the only successor of the Pandavas.

After Krishna left the earth, the Bhu-devi sank into uncontrollable sorrow due to the entrance of Kali (Kali yuga, the age we live in). All kinds of adharmic activites starting taking place. There was a slow withdrawal from our Vedic heritage, charity decreased, adherence to Satya or Truth reduced. But King Parikshit, with his power, controlled Kali and kept him under check. Kali however begged Parikshit Mahaaraja not to kill him saying that following the dharma of time, since it is the start of Kaliyuga, he must be allowed to come and must not be killed. Thus obeying the kaala-dharma, Parikshith allowed Kali to saty in some specific places such as places of ill repute such as gambling, slaughter houses and the like.

Once after a long hunt in the forest, completely exhausted, Parikshit reached the ashram of a great rishi, Shameeka maharshi. The maharshi at that time was in deep meditation and completely detached from the external world. Hence, he did not notice the exhausted Parikshit mahaaraaja. King Parikshit, completely exhausted and very thirsty, thought that the maharshi, despite being aware of his exhaustion, chose not to offer him even water. In anger, he performed an act he normally would never have done. The anger itself and the way it was manifested was due to the presence of Kali it is said, because the King was a strict follower of Dharma and would have never shown allowed himself to get angry in such a manner. Thus in anger he put a dead snake around the neck of the rishi to insult him and left the ashrama. A little while later, the rishi’s son Shrungi, arrived and saw the dead snake around his father’s neck. Realizing that Parikshit had done this act, he cursed Parishit saying within a week’s time, the King who had insulted his father thus would be killed by Takshaka, a mighty snake. Meanwhile the maharshi opened his eyes from his deep meditation and learnt about all that had happened.

Maharshi Shameeka told his son Shrungi “Anger is the main hindrance to tapas / sadhana / meditation. It is a big hurdle for one who follows the path of Dharma. He never should give way to anger. One must always think twice before he acts and never come into the clutches of anger. One’s anger is his greatest enemy. A person loses his dharma-adharma discrimination, does not think and causes harm to others and himself because of anger. Parikshit mahaaraja is not an ordinary king. It is because of him that Dharma is still alive on earth today. It is because of him that Kali has been restricted. ”

“Alas! What a great sin you have committed yourself today in awarding such a heavy punishment for the small mistake King Parishit committed! Your command of intelligence is still immature.  Completely protected by his just way of rule, all beings in Parikshith’s kingdom enjoy prosperity. Once he is killed because of your curse, this world will be full of thieves who immediately trouble innocent, unprotected souls like they are lambs. Because of this curse, there will be great social disruption. The wealth everywhere will be seized by thieves and among the people there will be murder and molestation as also abuse of money, women and animals. The righteous civilization, of humanity united in proper conduct of progress in the vocations and stages of life according to the Vedic injunctions, will at that time systematically be vanquished. The protector of the religion, the king, is a highly celebrated emperor, a direct, first class devotee of the Lord, a saint of nobility and a great performer of horse sacrifices. When he, hungry and thirsty, is stricken with fatigue, he never deserves it to be cursed by us like this.”

“I am quite sure, Parikshit mahaaraaja will not give you a counter curse, such a great king that he is. Good people do good to those who help them and to those who hurt them as well. Mahatmas do not even feel the pleasures and sorrows, everything is same.”

The Maharshi thus regretted the curse of his son and certainly did not think that the insult by Parikshit was a sin. Generally saints are not distressed or happy when others pull them into worldly dualities because they are situated in the transcendence of the soul. These incidents (such as the dead snake put around his neck) they consider insignificant.

In the meantime, King Parikshit realised what he had done was something terrible, something he should not have done and thought thus, “Alas, it was uncivilized and evil what I did to the faultless, grave and powerful Maharshi. Because of the contempt of what I did against that godly person, I undoubtedly very soon will meet with a very troublesome calamity. I certainly hope that that will happen so that I will be relieved of my sins and never do anything like that again.”

Shameeka, knowing that now nothing could be done (since the words of his son Shrungi could not be undone), sent word to King Parikshit informing him about Shrungi’s curse. Thus did Parikshit mahaaraaja come to know about the curse.

Having heard that he only had seven days to live, Parikshit handed over his kingdom to his son and sat down at the banks of river Ganga in order to fast and observe religious rites unto his death. Many sages and wise men came to see him. Parikshit paid his respects to them and humbly spoke about his decision to fast. He stood with folded hands before them as someone whose mind is detached from worldly affairs. And thus it came to pass that the king, having arrived at that decision, fully self-controlled, seated himself near river Ganga. On this occasion the gods, who from the sky had seen that the king would fast until his end, all in praise scattered the earth with flowers, continually beating celestial drums in pleasure. All the great sages who had assembled there praised him for the wisdom he had thus shown.

It was at that time the great Suka Maharishi came that way, and he was received with great respect by the audience seated around King Parikshit. Then Parikshit asked him a question: “What is good for man, especially at this hour when his life is about to end? What should such a person hear about, repeat, do, remember and worship.”

How are we to answer this question? What is good for any person? In the freezing heights of the Himalayas, it is good to have a blanket over oneself. But a blanket is not good in the hot deserts of Africa; we would like to have cold water there. When we are hungry, it is good to have delicious food; when we are vomiting due to illness, it is good not to eat at all. Anyone who desires his or her own good cannot answer this question of what is actually good for oneself, because whatever answer we give, we will find it is connected to some cause thereof, and it is not the final good.

Riches will end, the body will wither, and life is uncertain. None of these things connected with life in this world can be regarded as really good in their ultimate sense. Then, what is really good for the human individual? The difficulty in answering this question arises because we think that we are living only in this world of sensory perception.

So, when we ask the question, “What is good for us at the end of time?” it is implied that it is that which is good for us at all times because, knowing the brittleness/short life of things in the world, all times are the end of time. The supreme good, therefore, is the Supreme Brahman, the Ultimate Reality that we call God which is intimately, vitally, inextricably connected with our own souls.

Suka Maharshi said, “This inquiry of yours, O King, for the good of all people is the best thing you can do. This subject of study carries the approval of Rishis. The subject matter is the supreme of all, Divine, God, is worth the attention. O Emperor, there are countless subject matters to hear about in human society that are of interest to those who, attached to their household life, are materially engrossed and are blind to the reality of the soul. They spend their lives, O King, with sleeping, making money, taking care of their family and other such related activities. They are unable to see the fleeting nature of these activities. For that reason, O King, He (Divine/God) must be discussed, glorified and remembered who as the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality, the controller and vanquishing Lord, frees those who are of desire from their anxieties.

Thus in response to the question Parikshit asked, Suka Deva narrated the stories of Bhagavatam. It is believed that this great scripture, the Srimad Bhagavatam, is like a delicious nectar. It is a combination of bhakti or devotion, vairagya or renunciation and jnana or knowledge. Jnana, vairagya, and bhakti – all the three are combined in a wonderful manner in the narration of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Sri Krishna Himself is supposed to be living in this wonderful scripture. Whoever studies the Bhagavatam is supposed to be reading the life of Lord Krishna Himself.

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam

kavibhiriditam kalmashapaham

bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah

your story which is like Amritam revives the scorched spirit of a man;

purifies a sinner, the holy men thrive on it.

To hear it is auspicious and peace generating.

Those who chant your name are the real benefactors.