The two weeks short course on basic hands-on electronic course(From Dec. 7th till 21st ) has been started.
Ragu Prasanth and Siva who are professors by profession. Ragu Prasanth is now volunteering in STEMLand and Siva is working in Isai Ambalam School. They both feel that practical learning is missing nowadays. So, they are offering this course.
For the class we had participants from the previous electronics course and we also had children,youth and adult from and around Auroville.
On the first day of the course we saw the difference between Electrical and Electronics. How to find the faulty breadboard. I also learned how to use the oscilloscope and add two signals. The class was new and interesting.
In Isai Ambalam school 2nd graders had a difficulty in finding the pattern. When I use Dienes blocks and jodo cubes to identify the patterns. I asked the children to arrange the cubes in different orders that they have seen it in real life. I split them into two groups and asked them to arrange th cubes in patterns. They started doing that and then shared how they arranged the numbers from 1 – 10. When I used the Dienes block it was difficult for them to tell how many blocks are used visually. Then I used Jodo blocks it was big and they were in different colors. Children were able to tell the different patterns. They were able to see it visually and they were able to draw it on a paper. They helped each other to identify the pattern. They were able to tell the different patterns that they saw in their house.
On Tuesday 9th and 10th had activity class. Children from 10th wanted to make a magnifying glass. They took a plastic bottle and carefully cut out two circles. They joined those two circles at the edge using glue gun and left a small gap. They dip it into a glass of water and filled it. But they found that the water was leaking. They tried it again using Fevistick. Their exploration creative ideas were really inspiring. With the remaining parts of the water bottle that was been cut were been joined together and formed a mini water bottle.They put some mud inside the bottle and kept a flower and few grass and made it as a flower vase.
On the other hand a 9th student had a mobile phone which was not working. He found that the battery was not charging properly.One of the wire that goes to the battery was broken. He soldered it and charged the battery and turned it on. It was great to see that the mobile gave and sound and turned on. He called everyone who were there in the room and showed them that he made it to work. He was so happy to see that it was working.
On Saturday we inaugurated the Ismart class room in Udavi. 9Th std children from Udavi and children from Isai Ambalam had a sleep over on Friday to decorate the place. Children from Isai Ambalam brought their projects to demonstrate during the inauguration. They were so excited to see the Ismart room. They kept all the chairs out and cleaned the room. Then they all went to STEM Land and brought all the electronics components and the materials to the smart room. Also they took the mindstorm and the games with them and kept in the room. All the children and the facilitators played a game where they were split into pairs and shared three things about them to their partner. Then each one of us got up and shared about our partner to everyone in the circle . It was really great to play the game through which the children from Isai Ambalam and Udavi came to know about each other and formed a good relationship between themselves. Then children shared what they learned and enjoyed in STEM Land and they explained how the mindstorm works.
They played games and were enjoying. They even chose their place in the room to present their projects for the next morning. Later everyone had dinner and got freshen up and watched a Ratatouille movie. Then it was time to sleep and everyone went to sleep. The next morning children got freshen up and split their work among themselves. Some of them decorated the the place using colour papers and some of them made a Rangoli in front of the room and beautifully coloured it. It was interesting to see children taking up responsibility by themselves and giving their best. The inauguration was from 10.30 to 2.00. By 10.30 A.M 8th std children came with their projects and games and organised their place. They decorated the Rangoli with colourful flowers and inaugurated the room by lighting up the candle. Every one were informed the purpose of the I-smart class and each one of the children, facilitator, volunteer and guest lit up a candle and started the day. It was nice to see all the candles floating on the water gently as everyone went around the room and explored their learning. Children gave lot of effort to complete their projects and to record them. Their recorded projects were played on the projector and children were challenging the guest and the volunteers to play games with them which was the fun part. A volunteer who came to learn programming had also did a project in scratch and presented it. Isai Ambalam children showed their EBD on honey bee and their bamboo torch, Udavi children showed their mindcuber which solves Rubik cube, mobile applications that they have created, visual representation of algebraic identities, puzzles and games. The I-smart class was filled with technology and logical thinking which inspired everyone. Then everyone had some snacks. Then the 9th and 7th graders came with their projects and replaced 8th graders. They lit up the candles one by one and started their presentations. Everyone enjoyed the day and were really impressed by children’s growth and their interest towards technology and logical thinking.
The day before the inauguration of the iSmart class room we had a combined class with two school children the 6th and 7th from Isaiambalam and the 9th graders from Udavi school.
The evening started with a circle and introduction of each others names.
Then the 9th graders from Udavi school had given a list of things they were willing to do that evening from mindstroms to strategy games and scratch programming.
Hema sundar and Kabilan worked with the mindstroms sets and the older lego nxt blocks with the younger children.
Naveen playing bounce off with a Arham.
The tables were arranges so that every couple of minutes the children were asked to switch tables, so as to see all the materials that were being worked on.
The 9th grader at Udavi volunteered to paint the new Ismart class room that is being built in the factory side of the Udavi school campus. Which joins along with the Aura Auro Design Lab.
The new space required LAN connectivity.
The LAN cables where already routed to junction boxes which had to be clipped and fixed to the 24 model switch box.
(The box varies from brand to brand, Legrand is easy and takes less time to clip to the individual sockets but is ~ Rs 150 per unit that is 3x larger than other brands) The one that was used required more fine work of screwing and unscrewing individual wires of the CAT 6 LAN cables.
Vignesh connecting a socket box
Velmurugan connecting a socket box
We used straight connection for crimping the rj 45 connectors to the switch box
Then finally we tested if the wires were connected properly with a testing probe.
(The device had eight LED’s that would be connected to both ends of the cables. One of the device was the master and the other was a slave. The master would send a signal for each of the eight wires present on the CAT 6 cable and the slave would light up LED’s accordingly)
Children from 8th were learning algebra and had difficulties with the sign operations. They were able to come up with stories of multiplying minus into plus, plus into minus and plus into plus but they couldn’t come up with a story of minus into minus. They asked the volunteers and facilitators to tell a story for it but they couldn’t get the right story for it. Sanjeev gave a story and explained how negative value multiplied with negative value becomes positive. Children even tried the story on the staircase. They closed their eyes and walked backward (negative) and facing down the staircase (negative) and when they opened their eyes they saw themselves climbed few steps up(Positive). They were excited and were able to implement it on their algebraic equations. They had fun while learning it.
Children of Isaimbalam were very much interested in Soldering and making simple circuits. We got many Vega kits were the circuits are already printed in a PCB. Children study the datasheet of a particular circuit and solder. Children from 6th and 7th soldered few kits. They were very happy when some of them worked.
Since they are young and new they made mistakes by flipping few components here and then but they tinkered with my help.
Circuits like Disco light, Light sensor and water level indicator worked.
Bala was so happy when we were testing the water level indicator and the light one by one lighted up. Auyush also connected a buzzer to indicate low light.
Ayush and Swetha testing low light sensor
Ayush and Swetha testing low light sensor along with me
Sabari and Vasanth with Disco light
Sabari soldering the kit
Water level indicator by Bala
Naveen had planned a trip to Auro orchard with the isaiambalam school children. There were two groups. One were interested in the getting to know about the honey bees and the other on methods of bed techniques.
Uma Ramanan a member of the farm introduced us to Auro Orchard, the first farm designed to sustain Aurovilles people back in time.
The day started by looking at raised bed technique and types of vegetables that they have grown.
Children were able to seen how much the production had increased due to the raised beds. (On an avg a turmeric plan can only produce 300gm of product but here they were able to collect up to few Kg)
The Papayas they have are not hybrid varieties the seeds can be used to grow new saplings.
This flower has medicinal values (kills germs and is antibiotic in nature) and are loved by honey bees as they grow through out the year.
Then came the honey bees, Uma explained that the bees are farmers most important friend as they are the major pollinators, and they don’t use them to collect honey in the farm. but recently a bee hive had vacated the trunk as it had over grown its population and moved out. Hence they had to empty the wax.
Then the children had a group discussion on the the life cycle of bees.
And at last they were able to see the bee hives that were in the farm 🙂 .
The children had a wonderful time, and are eager for another visit to the farm.