Category Archives: STEM Land

Sangamam in Auroville


Auroville celebrated Sangamam where all the workers and their families from the bioregion  came together and enjoyed the events. It was a whole day of sports, arts and crafts, cultural programs and many more events. We were allocated a stall for STEM land. Three children from Isai ambalam and 4 children from Udavi came and they setup the stall.

We asked people to display their name or their first letter using  the seven segment displays. Children also were playing games like abalone, Pylos, Dobble and gave some challenging activities to the people.Children asked them to solve the rubiks cube and cast puzzles. Children and the adults were happy to these activities. They were able to display their names using the seven segment displays. Some of them were also able to solve the cast puzzles and were proud of solving them.

We also gave a talk about STEM land under unending education. Bala talked about STEM land in Isai Ambalam and the EBD’s we do there. He also connected with his personal life and the education system that he had before and said that he’s happy to see children having an alternative educations. He also added that we can support more children in Isai ambalam school and people who are interested to join their kids can visit Isai ambalam. I talked about STEM land in Udavi and how children take responsibility of their learning. We also said that we offer free courses related to engineering and people who are interested in learning are always welcome to STEM land.

Nilavazhagan who has completed B.Tech visited our stall in Sangamam and was interested in learning more on what we do. Yesterday he came to STEM land and visited. He wanted to continue and started to come from today onwards and was learning things with children.

First digit on clock

– Logeshwari

In electronics, initially I displayed my name using Seven Segment Display(SSD). I had already posted that in My First Blog. After that I wanted to learn more on SSD. So I was asked to make a digital clock. I have completed the first digit of the seconds. I used two JK flip flops (HD74LS76A), decoder (SN74LS47), a SSD (Common Anode) and Signal Generator. I first made the connections of JK flip flop on a breadboard. The input is clock signal which is generated from a signal generator of Frequency 1Hz. The combination of the two flip flops acts like a counter. Once the circuit is connected, I tested the output of the flip flop using an ocilloscope. I got the waveforms like this.

Then I took the decoder and connected the outputs to the input pins of the decoder. Decoder (converts the binary information to 2n outputs) is connected to the seven segment display. While doing decoder I was able to recall Karnaugh-Map which is the logic behind it. The output of the decoder is fed to the seven segment display. Once everything is done then it counts from zero to fifteen (f-represented in binary).


Since the one’s digit of the clock counts only upto nine and after that it should reset to zero. For resettting the digit to zero I used NAND gate. Binary representation of nine is 1001. When the Most Significant Bit and the Least Significant Bit are high(1) then it should reset to zero.


I have completed the first step only, but I feel happy that I learnt and understood what I did. I acknowledge Sanjeev, Sundhar and Ranjith for guiding me.

Sinthanai Sangamam with around 600 teachers(Azim Premji Foundation)


Sinthanai Sangamam is happened on 21/02/2018. It is a new kind of experience with around 600 teachers from different places. I have presented a paper about STEM land. The great thing is I got an opportunity to share about, my journey with the children in STEM land.The wonderful thing is that I am in STEM land. Why I came to STEM land is, I want to learn more about electronics that is why I came to STEM. I have learned about electronics what I have learnt that came as a few product that is inverter, display my name using 7-segment display, mobile charger, solar powered charger etc..Then I learned some of the programming from students that is scratch and geo gebra these program will be used in mathematics. These things I have explained in very shortly. In Sinthanai Sangamam everyone shared their experience with the children. How they interact with the children, what method they are following in their school, what kind of projects their students done and how we can connect to science and maths in our real life. The one main thing what I learnt is there should not a gap between children and teacher.

VLSI Layout

In VLSI layout course I learned to design a gates using NAND. Then I have checked the NAND gate truth table with the help of bread board, battery and multimeter. I learned to use magic tool, how to extract and how to simulate the layout.

I learned the cross section of CMOS and what colour coding we have to use for the each components.

Parul Kudawla to STEM land

Poovizhi, Pratap

We met Parul when we presented our paper (“Fostering responsibility in learning in rural schools) in TISS Mumbai. She is a management trainee in BPCL. She wanted to learn more about STEM land so she visited STEM land last Sunday. She came with her parents.

She saw all the Montessori materials we used and asked how they were used and for what purpose. Then she was keen in understanding how children learn multiplication tables using Vaughn cube. We explained her the pronunciation and the corresponding numbers. She tried finding it herself and was happy that she understood it. She also shared it with her parents. She learned about the 3D printer and designed a 3D object in Blender. We showed her some projects made by children in scratch and Geogebra.

Her parents were trying to solve some cast puzzles. We all played dimension games and were explaining about how STEM land works and what we do there. Parul enjoyed STEM land and wanted to support us on our research work.

Oven wall EBD with children

– Ranjith

I’m back after two week gap, I notice lot of things happened here in two weeks.

I worked on an EBD (Education by Design) project with children in Isai Ambalam School. They had built a red mud and brick oven, but are concerned that in the rainy season the red sand get eroded by water. They want build a short wall to protect the oven from flow of the water during the rains.

Now they are in the process of cleaning and breaking and making the floor plain to raise a wall from there. It was amazing experience with children and they are eager to finish it soon.

In this week, I learned many more things including

  • A tool called magic used for VLSI layout. I did the layout of an Invertor, NAND gate. Then I learned how to create a hierarchy and import a NAND gate layout and use it to create XOR gate by wiring using different layers of metals to avoid a short circuit.

Geogebra, EBD & Goanimate

– Saranya

I learned to use Geogebra and have used it to solve a linear equation. This worked for me and it was new to me. It is increasing my interest in mathematics.Now I am eager to solve many equations. Whatever we enter an equation the tool puts the waveform for it. For example, I have taken 3x+2y=0 is a linear equation. From that diagram we can easily identify that is linear equation. This was surprising for me.

I worked on EDB (Education by Design) with students at Isai Ambalam school.The pond which they have built before was cracked by roots of old trees .So because of that students want to reinforce the pond.Now they are in process of adding iron rod and concrete item so that the pond won’t get break again.It was wonderful experience with them.Is very good to see like that students they were full of energy.

I also made a small animated video with it was great idea. It gave an idea of how I can convey something that feels more interactive. It was fun and awesome because whatever we want convey to the students we can convey by making an animation video. It was my first experience with goanimate.I made a video about multiplication story.
Saranya Multiplication Story by SanjeevRanganathan on GoAnimate

Here are some snapshots in case you cannot see the flash content above.

(I.e) there are 3 children, if I gave 4 bananas to each of them how many bananas did I give in all? The answer also I have shown.The answer is 12(add there number of bananas each have and we will get the answer easily).

VLSI course

We are conducting a basic VLSI course. Around 16 participants from in and around Auroville are coming in to learn. We are only focusing on Digital layout and understanding basic concepts.

Course outline:

Day 1:

Give an introduction to CMOS technology and fabrication process. Give an intro to CMOS Transistors and it’s working. Introduce people to stick diagrams.

  • Introduction to VLSI technology.
  • Introduction on CMOS transistors and working.
  • Demo on LT spice simulation tool.
  • Introduced CMOS Inverter and ask participants to simulate an inverter in LT spice.
  • Showed a video on fabrication process and manufacturing a chip.
  • Introduced stick diagram and how it helps to get started with layout. Participants drew a stick diagram for an Inverter.

Day 2:

    • Introduced magic layout tool.
    • Helped them to login to our central server through VNC. This helped them to avoid installing magic in their laptops. We haven’t figured out a way to install in windows so far, but Magic sort of works fine in Ubuntu platform.
    • Showed top view and cross section of a CMOS transistor. This helped them to understand the fact that layout is all about top view of the devices.
    • Participants laid out an invereter using magic.
    • Once that was completed we showed them to extract and create a netlist. Netlist helps us to understand the connection and cross check whether the layout we laid out is correct or not.

Day 3:

  • Introduced NAND gate
  • Laying out NAND gate. (Note: We gave a circuit diagram for a NAND gate)
  • Extracting NET list and with the same netlsit draw the schematic usind the netlist.
  • Whoever completes should layout a NOR gate and repeat STEP 2 and 3.

Day 4:

    • Introduced to gates. (OR, AND, INVERETER, NAND, NOR and EXOR)
    • Understand the truth table for all gates.
    • Introduced few rules like Involution law, Idempotency law and De Morgan’s law
    • Task 1: Using NAND gate create OR, AND, INVERETER and EXOR. Draw schematic and derive the logic for the same.
    • Task 2: Build those gates using DM74S00N and bread board and test whether their logic were appropriate.


Day 5:

  • Intorduced Hierarchy. Showed how to import models that can be used to create complex layouts.
  • Task: Layout an XOR gate importing the NAND gate built in the previous classes

Day 6:

    • Introduced IRSIM
    • Task 1: Test different layouts with IRSIM
    • Task 2: Whoever didn’t complete XOR should complete XOR and test it out using IRSIM

Day 7:

We wanted people to see a real layout and at the end of the course, layout a micro processor.

  • Showed them a layout of a real chip.
  • There are three main blocks necessary for a micro processor. ALU unit, Memory and Counter. We used full adder for ALU and Flip flops for every bit for a memory and counter.
  • Task: Layout a micro processor

Goanimate, MIT App inventor and Stykz

During the activity class in Udavi school children were working on different applications like Goanimate, MIT Appinventor, Stykz and scratch. Muralidharan anad Nirmal was working on Goanimate. Murali made a video called help others. He made an animation of a man sailing on the boat searching for treasure but then on his way he finds a man in an island asking for help then he goes and rescues him from there. Aravindh built a timer app using MIT Appinventor. Jeeva worked on scratch and programmed a game. Yuvan was working on Stykz and learnt to insert figures in it. It was interesting to see them working on their own on different activities. They were so curious to learn new things and enjoyed learning. Nirmal learnt Go animate and was animating a video to represent a geometrical concept during his math class.

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.

Printing fidget spinner using 3D printer

Sooriya and Aruldeva from 9th std in Udavi wanted to learn about 3D printing. They both sat together and got an idea of printing the Olympic flag symbol with five interlaced rings. They tried to design it in Blender. Some times they had doubt and they asked to an 8th grade child and learnt how to design things in Blender.


It was nice to see 8th grade and 9th grade children working together and learn from each other. Then they some how changed the Olympic symbol into a fidget spinner and printed it using Cura. But they had finally printed something as they wanted and learnt to use the 3D printer. They were then playing with it. This dint stop with the fidget spinner. They wanted to continue printing things and now Aruldeva is working on the 3D printer to print a top.