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.
I’m doing an EBD (Education By Design) with 7th and 6th graders. In order to understand the difficulty I showed them a building and asked them to draw an outline of it.
The building was polygonal in shape. They had a great time with that building and it had taught them a lot. For example – meter conversion, angles. At last them came up with its outline as shown in the figure.
Though it was small, it gave them some confidence and clarity on what they are trying to do. We need to measure the length of a fence. But that was covered by plants,
On another day, we need to measure the length of a fence. But that was covered by plants, bushes and trees and it was not straight too. So it was little difficult to measure it. We had a discussion on how to go about it. I raised few questions every time they came up with some solutions to that situation. They realized every solution has its own drawback after analyzing it. So I thought that would be the perfect time to introduce the Pythagoras theorem for practical use.
I calculated the length of a tree without measuring it directly. They were amazed. They said that they want to know how I did it. I told them but it was little hard for them to understand as they didn’t know anything about square and square root.
I have used Dennis cubes to learn square, square root, cube and cube root. After that, I have used a simple and fast method the find out the square root. Children felt it was like a game and that went well too. using the Pythagoras theorem they measured that place height and base. With that, it was easy for them to find out the fence length.
They have used both measuring tape and distance meter.
I was really concerned when I came to know that I’m going to work with 3rd graders on Scratch on every Saturday. Because this was not the grade and activity I had in the mind. They are the youngest grade we work with. I have no idea about their status on computer skills or familiarity.
Last week I took my first session. Literally, it was horrible. Last week I started my class with Cat movements ( Horizontal and vertical motions only ). But they couldn’t do it. I had to sit and help each child individually. The class was messy, Children were screaming/fighting and I was out of control. So I end my class around 12.00pm that day.
The reason why they couldn’t do was,
- They are not familiar with computer that much. They couldn’t handle the mouse and keyboard ( The only time they used computers for playing an addition game).
- Whatever I did that day did not attract/interest them. They were not caring for the thing they were asked to make.
- There was no goal.
Today, before I start my class (and after the circle time), I asked them to show their favorite addition game. They were really happy to show that game to me. I felt that must be easy to create it scratch. I asked them,”How about making our own games instead of playing with other’s creation. They all gave me a stare for a second and asked will it possible? That’s where I played my role today.
I asked them to arrange the chairs in front of the big monitor and sit. I started with how to use the mouse ( different kinds of mouse clicks, when to use what and how to drag and drop something). Before starting to code, I showed them how to select different sprite and backdrop. They chose a boy as the sprite and swimming pool as the backdrop. The boy has to ask the question. If the user enters a correct answer, he should say good else the boy has to jump into the water and die.
I started coding for their theme step by step. There was pin drop silent. Even the so-called trouble creators were into it and did not disturb the class :-). Once I complete the program, I let it be on the monitor so they can replicate it. They did.
I know that they only replicated the program not created. But they way they did it was amazing. Some of them had few doubts about shrinking the sprite and finding the backdrop. But none of them had doubts about where to get the commands ( I mean, from which block). They were focused and worked towards their wish. This time, I ended (forcefully ) my class at 12.45pm.
In Isai Ambalam school we showed Arvind gupta video for the 4th and 5th graders. They saw the video and noted down the materials that are needed to build a simple motor. First day they built and it didn’t rotate. They were sad and went back to their class. Second day they watched the video again and they came to know their mistake. They corrected their mistake and the it rotated. Siva and me explained the concept why it is rotating. From my experience when I built it for the first time it didn’t rotate and I didn’t know what was the mistake. Then It rotated. I learnt that I should never give up easily on what I work.
-Sundar and Arun
The children in Isaiambalam, had started an EBD on garden. There were already two two sets of steps(for creating beds, in order to plant) built using cement and bricks on the front side. The left side looked a little incomplete, The task was to complete a step on the left side of the structure. To do this the children had to dig out the excess soil to lay the first set of bricks.
To create the trench children had wired and made a straight line before digging. Before laying the bricks the leveling had to be checked, this was done using a tube level( a tube filled with water)
Then the cement was mixed to sand in a ratio of 1:3 along with required amount of water.
Brick work started.
Once the side steps where complete the children used the fraction kits to tell stories of proper fractions. Which they had used to while mixing cement of sand. They needed 7 pans of sand and 2 and 1/3 pans of cements.
Once the structure was complete the students had come up with values for the project. That were Respect, equality, and perseverance, and helping.
Then they started to estimate the build of materials and their cost. It started by calculating the number of bricks for 1m and expanding to number of meters they used it for. With this they started to tell multiplication and division stories.
In Isai Ambalam school the 5th graders were able to identify the different shapes using the tessellation kit. They learnt the names of shapes like triangle which has 3 sides. They also learnt pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon. By using the shapes they were making different structures like fish, flower and some mandala structure. I learnt some new shapes names like heptagon, decagon and nonagon. It was interesting for me that I learnt something with the children.
The 5th graders started to build a hot air balloon in Isai Ambalam school. We started gathering information how to make a hot air balloon. Then we watched some videos to make the hot air balloon. We found the reason why the hot air balloon fly towards the sky. The we used tissue papers to make a hot air balloon. The things that are need to make a hot air balloon are glue, tissue paper and binding wire and scissors. we learnt that the hot air moves towards the cold air in the sky and this is the reason why the hot air balloon move towards the sky. I felt the student were excited while doing it . While doing this activity I found the children were responsible for the materials and team work and helping each other and sharing the materials and everyone got equal opportunities for doing the activities.
New academic year.. New students… So, something should be new in the way I start my class too. The first thing which came to my mind was the PIPER animation video. I thought, it would be nice to begin with that video. But later I realized that the video will be more effective when I combine it with stewardship tools. Yes, I did start with stewardship tools (student version) – Stand and Fear.
This year we are planning to focus on EBDs (Education By Design). The students will face many challenges in the form of EBDs. When a person asked to do something which is totally different from what they have been doing in all their life, may tends to put them in their fear of ‘Not being good enough’, ‘Making mistakes’, ‘Ridicule’ and ‘Judgement’ ( These all are the things I got out from children when I did fear exercise). So I thought it’s better to introduce these tools before I start my journey with the children.
I closed the session with PIPER animation video. Siva ( Teacher at IsaiAmbalam) supported me to carry out this by his active engagement.