STEM Land Newsletter Volume 5 – Oct 18 – Jan 19

 

 

STEM Land Newsletter       

About STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) land

STEM Land is located in two outreach schools of Auroville (Isai Ambalam and Udavi school).

Volume-5, Oct ’18-Jan ’19

Children come to STEM Land for their Mathematics, EVS and Science classes. They learn Mathematics, Electronics, 3D-Printing, Programming, Mindstorms (Robotics) and learn to play strategic games that enhance logical thinking.

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.

STEM land Birthday celebration

 On 16th October 2018 we celebrated STEM land’s 3rd birthday in Udavi school. Children were back from their first term holiday a week before that and worked on what they wanted to present during the celebration. Some children who attended the scratch course conducted during the first term holiday created projects on Scratch. Others put up puzzles and games.

Scratch Projects

Children showcased their projects during STEM land birthday. They were explaining and sharing what they learnt through this project to others.

Raspberry pi Course

Matej Ukmar, a software engineer by profession and has been dabbling with the Raspberry Pi that he would like to share what he has learnt. We learnt how to download and install the Linux based OS Raspbian, basic usage of Linux shell and ssh, pin details of the raspberry board (input/output) controller, create remote controls via web service and collection of sensor data in the cloud. 

Scratch Course in Thamarai learning center

In Thamarai Learning Centre(Evening School), STEM land team offered a basic scratch course in the evening for 5 days from 5.30 PM  to 7 PM. The facilitator in that centre didn’t know about scratch so they also joined  the course. There were about 15 children and 4 facilitators. We introduced the different blocks and its function in scratch. Children started to explore and were excited in exploring the different options in Scratch. On each  day children from Thamarai learnt and worked on different task. Most of the children loved and enjoyed building their own game. This created confidence in children that they can make many things using scratch.

MTA (Mathematical Teacher’s Association) Conference @Mumbai (HBCSE)

Two of us presented at the MTA conference in Mumbai from 3rd-5th in Jan. There were about 100 people from different states.

Our research paper “Learning Mathematics concepts through Projects and EBD(Education by Design) methodologywas accepted as a poster presentation. The paper gave case studies on how children can  learn mathematics by building projects, using physical technology eg. building/construction and virtual technology such as programming. It also describes how children learn conceptual ideas by programming a computer, needing to break down their ideas into smaller bites for a computer to follow.  At the conference we met many people who are working on the Mathematics education. People who were attending the conference were school teachers, college professors and also academic researchers.

Welcome Anupama

 Anupama jagadeesh joined us in January this year (2019). She deeply cares about self-exploration and moved to Auroville from Seattle recently. She has 18 years of experience in web based applications for various corporates in the US. As a senior development lead she delivered products primarily on Java based platforms.  She is very interested in alternative education and she trained herself in Montessori and has home schooled her two children.

She works with the STEM land team build the next version of the school database software in the afternoons after 2 p.m. It is really helpful for us to have a senior and experienced person to work with.

 Discussion with Krishnan Maharaj from Ramakrishna mission

 We met Krishnan maharaj from Ramakrishna mission in Chengalpattu in January. He was managing the polytechnic run by RK mission and works in building personality and leadership. We had a discussion about the situation of engineering graduates now a days and what are the causes for it. We also discussed about the deep desire to learn.

Development through drama course

 Three of us went for this workshop. It held in January 2019 for 2 weeks. Tracy walked us through few new activities to develop various facets of the children including concentration, Through the workshop we learnt to introduce concepts through drama. 

MES10 Conference

We went for the Mathematics Education and Society Conference end of January. It is an International Conference which happened for first time in Asia in Hyderabad university. The were 160 people in all with 90 odd people who had traveled from 20 different countries. It was a five day conference with a focus on dialogue and discussions on papers presented which made it a very interactive conference bringing many perspectives about each topic. We went to present a paper “Factors and Interventions Influencing Children’s Attitude Towards Mathematics” and a poster “Deep Learning of Mathematical Concepts Through EBD and by Using Materials“. In addition to the papers each day there was a plenary session that brought forward an area of research including two 2 people who responded to the presenter  followed by discussions.

EBD’s (Education By Design)

 In the 2nd term the following EBD’s and project are done by children. Elephant, Birds, Photography, Making cake for Christmas and Republic day.

Our Team

 We are a team of 12 engineers at STEM land. Our projects range from python programming and more recently to analog VLSI layout.

(Left to right) Sanjeev Ranganathan, Murali, Ranjith, Poovizhi, Sundar, Saranya, Pratap, Arun, Sandhiya, Naveen, Logeshwari, Abilash, Anupama (not in picture)

Support A Child Program II Phase

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). We have successfully completed Support A child program Phase I covering children from 3rd grade(68 children) onward. We are still looking to support 12 younger children in the second phase. Please sign up to support a child.

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.

www.auraauro.com

Graph with Abinash

Abinash a student from the 8th grade at Udavi school started his work on graph and initially had a little difficulty plotting points. He wanted to create a game for others to understand the concept and so together we started to mind storm on how and what the game should do.

Then he saw a picture on his mathematics text book and decided to create a point follower game at the end of which the user will get an image.

The program was coded in Scratch.

~Sundar

 

Mindstorm

A new Intern (Shivaram) has joined the team, he will be working on Responsive web page development (HTML and CSS), school software and learning to program the mindstorm.

Initially he built a small bot with wheels and learned powering and controlling the motors through the user interface. The batteries were discharging way too quick than expected and caused a halt in the learning.  Then I checked the back of the battery case there were 6 AA batteries connected in series resulting to 9V. I decided to use a power supply and showed him how to connect 🙂 . Now he was all set with uninterrupted power supply. By the end of the third day he had programmed a line follower.

Friday session with STEMLand scaling group – dienes blocks

~Sundar

On 2019/10/03 we had the second meet with the Scaling group. More information on the first meet can be found at : Link

This time Abilash started by sharing what he did in Auroville schools : A simple way to explain how a DC  motor works.

Next as a team we did simple calculations of how addition and subtraction work with carry (Exchanging a rod for 10 units and vice versa or a plate for 10 rods) using the dienes blocks, and later moved to multiplication (Area story) and division with some common misconceptions children have.

 

To find the length of the arc

This scratch program shows how to calculate the length of arc given a valid angle (20 to 360) and radius (50 to 200). The value  of angle and radius should be given. It requires two input from the user. If the user doesn’t give a valid input it sets a random value for angle and radius.

Pratap & Sundar

Inspiration “Secret of concentration”

~ Sundar, Murali, Naveen

Transferred to the next group this week 🙂 , and worked on the secret of Concentration.

The following passages were translated to Tamil and read with the children in both English and Tamil.

From the teachings of Swami Vivekananda :

——————————————————-

To me the very essence of education is concentration of mind,not the collecting of facts.If i had to do my education over again,and had any voice in the matter,i would not study facts at all.I would develop the power of concentration and detachment,and then with a perfect instrument i could collect facts at will.

How has all the knowledge in the world been gained but by the concentration of the powers of the mind?The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock,how to give it the necessary blow.The strength and force of the blow come through concentration.There is no limit to the power of the human mind.The more concentrated it is,the more power is brought to bear on one point;that is the secret.

Do you see,simply by the observance of strict brahmacharya(continence)all learning can be mastered in a very short time-one has an unfailing memory of what one hears or knows but once.It is owing to this want of continence that everything is on the brink of of ruin in our country.

Herein is the difference between man and the animals-man has the greater power of concentration.The difference in their power of concentration also constitutes the difference between man and man.Compare the lowest with the highest man.The difference is in the degree of concentration.This is the only difference

Take one idea,Make that one idea your life;Think of it,dream of ir,live on that idea.Let the brain,muscles,nerves,every part of your body,be full of that idea,and just leave every other idea alone.This is the way to success,and this is the way spiritual giants are produced.Others are talking machines.

How are we to know that the mind has become concentrated?Because the idea of time will vanish.The more time pass unnoticed the more concentrated we are.In common life we see that when we are interested in a book we do not note the time at all; and when we leave the book,we are often surprised to find how many hours have passed.


During the whole week(201906 22-29) and the sleep over the children worked on creating their own drawings and depicted the following story.

Group members: Shakthi, Murali, Ajay, Kalai, Jagathishwari, Sundar(Newcomer), Adhiyaman, Hemavarshini, Parimila, Stella

link to PDF: Arjuna Secret of Concentration

20190706 – children creating their own presentations:

link to PDF: Secret of Concentration V1

Recitation work from the children:

Recitation Presentation

tamil english  translation text

2019/08/17 One liner for our passages

1.Concentration is the essence of all knowledge, a trained mind never makes a mistakes.
2.Collecting facts with the power of concentration and detachment is the essence of education.
3.The world is ready to give up its secrets and the idea of where to look for comes through concentration.
4,All learning can be mastered in a short time by following the code of strict Bramacharya which involves immense concentration.
5.The difference between human beings is in their degree of concentration.
6.You will know that the mind has become concentrated, when the idea of time has vanished.
7.Success in life depends on clear thinking and intellectual understanding which is inherited by the power of concentration.

2019/08/31

The teachers and children together worked on scripts to show all the seven points as a play.

Link to Document: Script secret of concentration