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

STEMland Newsletter volume-6

~Saranya

 

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”

STEM land meeting with Swati Sircar

~Poovizhi, Murali and Arun

This week it was a large group of people in the meeting. Coordinators from Aikiyam, Udavi, Isai ambalam and AITI joined the meeting. Swati Sircar joined the meeting online. At first Sundar demonstrated Scratch projects on finding LCM created by 8th grade and program on Graph created by 9th grade children which asks the user to find the point and completes by drawing a bear. Then we listed few topics to discuss with Swati. Swati explained about Trignometry. She said we can ask children to come up with 6 possible ratios from a right angle triangle and map the names.

Then different methods of teaching multiplications

7×9 = 7×10-7

To explain and use multiplication in

  1. Scaling
  2. Repeated addition
  3. Cartesian product (Choices of combinations)
  4. Area (rows and column)
  5. Rate (price and qty)

Then we moved to Division and she explained how to spit 11/3. For example to draw three circles and draw apples in each circle equally and the remaining is the reminder.

Then we discussed about simplification. For simplification children need to learn divisibility rules for 2,3,4,5,9,10 and 11

Followed with we had a conversation on negative exponential

2^-x = 1/2^x

(1/2)^-5 = (2)^5

2^3 = 8

2^2 = 4

2^1 = 2

2^0 = 1

2^-1 = 1/2

2^-2 = 1/4

2^-3 = 1/8

STEM land meeting with all STEM coordinators

~Murali and Poovizhi

STEM land meeting with all STEM coordinators

This  Friday (29/11/2019) we had an interesting sharing session. Abilash, Ranjith and Sivaraman presented an experiment on Electrolysis through which they generated hydrogen from water using salt and electricity. It was new for us and we learnt how oxygen and hydrogen splits from water.

 

For more info on this click here 

After this practical experiment, Sundar from Udavi Stemland presented a scratch project on a graph in which the sprite moves to a particular point and asks the user to enter the (x,y) coordinates. Once the user enters the correct coordinates, it moves to the next point and so on. If the user completes until the end it draws an image.

To have a look at this project, Click here

Following this, we had another scratch project on algebraic expression. It is a game where the user is supposed to find the value of the given objects on both sides of a weighing scale.

 

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

 

STEM Land Newsletter Volume-7, Jun ’19-Sep’19

~Sundar, Sandhiya

 

STEM Land Newsletter

Volume-7, Jun’19-Sep’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 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


Growth of the team and new engagements

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


(Left to right) Murali, Thamizhselvi, Anupama, Prabha, Vimal, Bhuvana, Sanjeev, Sriman, Pratap, Ranjith, Arun, Sandhya, Sivaraman, Poovizhi, Abilash, Sundranandhan, Vasanth, Saranya, rushikesh (Naveen and Logeshwari are not in this picture).

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

Javascript course

We had an intense course offered at STEM land by Umang Doctor who has over 18 years of experience in software development and digital technologies. Ten people participated in the course and we learned and Practical experience of responsive website development primarily using JavaScript.The course included: HTML 5, CSS 3, ES6, Bootstrap 4, JavaScript basics, Data structures using JavaScript, JavaScript modules, OOPS, Debugging using Chrome. 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

Inspiration-program

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:


STEM Land in Thamarai

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
( Aravind Gupta Toys) and to measure the voltage from the battery using the multimeter. They were given different batteries and were asked to measure the voltage by keeping them in series. They were able to notice the change in voltages in different batteries and enjoyed the process. The students helped each other by sharing their knowledge with their younger buddies and we were able to see the Peer Learning build up. At the end of the day, they were able to learn about voltage, LED, copper, multimeters, and make the LED glow. Read more

What’sUp Integers

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 Visit

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
Auroville Unity Fund
with a note for STEM land and mail it to
Dr. Sanjeev Ranganathan,
STEM land Udavi School, Auroville,
Edayanchavadi, Tamil Nadu – 605101
All donations are 100% tax-deductible in India.

www.auraauro.com

 

Continue reading “STEM Land Newsletter Volume-7, Jun ’19-Sep’19”

STEM land meeting with all STEM coordinators

~ Murali and Poovizhi

Sundar (Udavi school STEM land coordinator) gave a demonstration on learning Algebra using weighing scale. He used few sketch pens and weighing cubes (1gm) . For example one side had 10 grams and the other side had 5 sketch pens when both were weighing equal. He asked us to find the weight of each sketch pen. Then we discussed and solved few such examples in solveme and came up with all possible algebraic equations.

Saravanan from Aikiyam school had brought a star tetrahedron in which children had learnt about pyramids and triangles.

Arun who is coordinating with AIIT explained about parallelogram and showed how a rectangle can be formed by bisecting the angles of the parallelogram.

 

Puzzle Solution Box-Isai STEM Land

~Sandhiya

In udavi each week a mathematical Puzzle is placed on the stem land notice board, where the interested students who wants to solve the puzzle writes the answer and drops the answer in the solution Box.

In this method, we implemented in all stem land. From this week onwards, In isai ambalam we  also started this method.

   

 

Independance Day Celebration Aug 15th @ Isai Ambalam School

~Saranya & Poovizhi

On India’s 73rd Independence Day, 15 August 2019, children from Isai  Ambalam school celebrated the Independence day with bonfire, run , flag hoisting and cultural events.

We started our day at 5:00 am with bonfire and meditation for an hour in Matrimandir amphitheater at Auroville.

Students started their run from Auroville Matrimandir went across
Auroville communities, villages and reached the school. They covered around 7.5 km and the STEM land
team and teachers at the school followed and encouraged children to complete the run. This video documents the run.

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.