Session on Pi

~ Abilash

An interactive session was  given to the young students of TLC about Pi,  radius, diameter, area, and circumference. The class started with a brief introduction about each of the concept.

Later the students were asked to measure the circumference of the different objects that were given to them and which they found around them using a thread. The measured circumference was divided by the diameter of the same object, when divided they got some value near to 3.14.  From this session they were able to understand that the value of Pi and it is constant. The students were engaged and practically understood the concept of Pi, which they enjoyed a lot.


Scratch Madala at Aikiyam school


This week me and Murali went to Aikiyam to teach shapes using scratch. We started with the drawing a straight line. Then asked children to draw a triangle . Children took some time and then figured out the angle to draw a triangle. Then we asked them to draw the following shapes like square, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon , octagon. Then using this shapes we asked then to draw mandala. Children were interested to  draw their own mandalas . Children understood the concept of repeat loop. They were familiar with the  pen function in the scratch. Children were able to connect the angles for different shapes.

Visualising solid shapes

We,8th graders at Isai Ambalam school children started a lesson called visualising solid shapes in mathematics. We used sodo cubes to understand different views of  a solid shape.  Children have been divided into four groups. 20 sodo cubes were given to each group. One child from each group should make a solid shape using 20 cubes and should draw the front view, side view and top view. He has to show this views to his partner without showing the shape.The other person should make the same model by seeing drawings. Children enjoyed this activity. They were able to draw the different views of solid shapes and also make the shapes by seeing the views. But the question they had was how to draw the views if the model has holes. Then they came to the conclusion of using dotted lines to represent the holes.

Interfacing BO Motor with Arduino

~ Vimal, Abilash, Prabha

We had learnt to interface a toy DC motor with the arduino platform. The idea is to design a sensor controlled vehicle which navigates based on the intensity of the light which falls on it.

We used a LDR(Light Dependent Resistor) as a sensor element for the project. The analog value of intensity of the light falling on it is measured and it ranges from 0 – 1024 (10 bit resolution limitation of arduino). We used a dual H bridge IC named L293D to actuate the motor. To get the desired torque, we have selected a geared motor with 300 RPM @ 12VDC.

For this task we used only one geared motor and one half of the dual H Bridge. For initial prototyping we used the breadboard, the enable pin of one half of the IC is connected to 5VDC, two IOs are assigned namely 4 and 7 to control the outputs of the IC. The LDR is connected to the analog pin A0. The LDR circuit is designed as a voltage divider circuit. The analog value obtained from the task is compared continuosly with the threshold limit of 950. If the value is changed the motor will rotate in clockwise direction else in anticlockwise direction.

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.

STEMland Newsletter volume-6



STEM Land Newsletter

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.

Ladder EBD

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.

Radical transformational leadership – interview

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.

Continue reading “STEMland Newsletter volume-6”

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.



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.

Talent Show


In Isai Ambalam children, Instead of inspiration work the children practiced and performed their talents (craft, sing with the tabala, power point presentation(Early people life style) and also children practice Inspiration sayings for presenting on Wednesday to all their parents.