## 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.

## STEM land in Thamarai learning center

~Poovizhi, Saranya

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 and recalled place values .  I wrote the numbers and the operator on the board and asked children to find the answer for it 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 , borrow and whether we carry over ones, tens or hundreds based on the place value.

## Scaling up STEM land

~Poovizhi, Prabha, Arun

STEM land is being scaled to different schools in and around Auroville. We had a meeting with all the STEM land coordinators from Isai ambalam school, Udavi school, Thamarai night school, Auroville ITI, TLC and  Aikiyam school.

We shared what we did in each STEM land. We discussed about algebraic identities, powers and how children can understand visually. One of the STEM coordinator solved it blindfolded. When we blindfold the cube size feels like it’s the same but when we compare it with the other cube it is a bit easier to figure it out. It was fun to learn.

## Research on how Alumni use or retain what they learn in STEM land

Poovizhi, Murali and Saranya

As explained in the previous blog http://www.auraauro.com/uncategorized/2017-2018-batch-childrens-reflection-on-stem-land/

We did a research on how children use or retain what they learn in STEM land. We conducted a survey in the following methodology
a) a group sharing of the alumni of how each of them are doing and what they have retained and use from their experience at STEM land.
b) This was followed by a review of the intention of each of the 20 questions of the
survey that explored each of these aspects
c) The children then filled out the survey individually
d) Four children who were not able to attend the group sharing filled out just the survey.
The conversation and the responses were analysed to understand what the children have found
special, useful and what continues to be useful and impacts them about STEM land.

This paper records reflections of alumni of STEM land two years after they
graduated from STEM land and pursuing their further studies in other schools. We review if
and how they found their time in STEM land useful and what role their experience in STEM
land continues to play in their lives:
1) If they found their time in STEM land useful and in what way.
2) What they retained and its application in higher education.
3) How interventions at STEM land that made the learning environment different from
what they experienced otherwise at school has shaped their attitude in further studies.
Specifically, we examine:
 the freedom to plan their work
 peer learning
Mathematics and are joyful
 access and use of materials in Mathematics to make abstract ideas concrete
 creating projects that provide opportunity to own one’s work

Following is the graph which shows how useful was STEM land for them.

The survey and conversations indicate that children not only learned Mathematical concepts
but also learned skills like programming and logical thinking. The children were left with a
comfort with these areas and all of them took up these subjects in higher education took up
computer science as an elective even those who took up Arts as a stream. They also continued
supporting their peers even in environments that are not entire conducive to peer learning.
The children not only understood what they had learned, but also had clarity in the
development of logical thinking, strategies and multiple methodologies of solving questions.

They also shared that they find a learning environment joyful and they appreciate is one that
gives them responsibility to plan their learning and work and gives them access to resources
and peer learning.
We believe these interventions if introduced as part of Mathematics could support children
taking responsibility of their learning and develop a deeper sense of learning beyond what is
expected in their Mathematics curriculum across India.

We have submitted our paper in epiSTEME8 it is available in the following link.

http://www.auraauro.com/research/STEMland_Alumni_Research.pdf

## 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 organised a get together themselves. We all felt happy to see them back. We met them in our lab. Children were also happy to meet their friends again. We started the conversation by asking them “What do you remember or miss about STEM land and how is it used?” Children shared what they did in STEM land, they shared about their projects and what they learned. Most of them said they learned Scratch, Rubiks cube, Goanimate, solve puzzles and Alice . Some of them said they miss STEM land.

It was interesting to hear children sharing about their projects which they did long time back they really own the work they do. Few children said that they have chosen computer science, computer application and the others who have chosen courses like humanity and language have also chosen computer science as an elective paper. We asked them what prompted them  to take computer science. One of the child said she chose computer science since she miss STEM land. She is studying humanity and she is the first in her class. After the conversation children wrote their answers for few more questions and wrote their memories in STEM land.

## Programme for Math Educators Day1

We started the program with the morning session where the participants were exposed to learn who they are and to learn why they do what they do. Participants came up with insights such as

• I learned about my stand and my fear.

• I came to know my Inner value of who I am and my fear.

• How to get out of my fear.

• How to release my fear of Judgement

• To be authentic not to impress others

• When I focus on my stand my fear will diminish

Then we continued with the basics Scratch course. We presented children’s stories which they made in Scratch. Then the participants also created their own stories in Scratch and learned motion and looks. After lunch we watched a video on STEM land in Udavi. Saranya presented a STEM land.

Again we continued to work on Scratch participants were asked to create a scratch project where they need to ask five questions in a way that the user can only move on to the next question only if the answer for the previous question is correct. Though that they learned sensing and control by asking questions and verifying whether the user input is correct or not. Those who completed the task moved on and created a maze game.

After a small break with some watermelon, lemon juice and bread we continued the day with Makey Makey and Finch. Arun presented Finch and gave a demo of how it can be controlled using scratch. Then Naveen made a project on Makey Makey. He did a piano and the participants also played it and enjoyed.

At the end of the day some participants who stayed went to STEM land and played few strategic games and were happy.

## Arduino course in i-SMART classroom

-Poovizhi and Saranya

Vimal has completed B.E Mechanical Engineering and has experience in various profiles as execultive operations, Engineering maintenance, deputy manager- management systems, quality control in a glass container company 12 years. Presently with Redshade Robotics as a mentor cum trainer for embedded systems and robotics using Arduino for 2 years. He offered an Arduino robotics course for STEM land facilitators.

Siva from Isaiambalam school also joined us for the course. We started from the history of Arduino and moved on to digital input, analog input,send and receive from PC , drive AC and DC motors, Line follower using infrared sensor, solve boot loader issue and to create library to make programming easy for children to use Arduino. We also learned to snap4Arduino. He created a desktop version of Scratch3 and introduced it to us.

## Session with Heidi Watts on Research

Aura Auro team, 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. Then we looked at kinds of research as following

Qualitative research – Describe more to prove

• Action research – making a change
• Participatory action research – I am part of it and effecting the outcome and adding myself
• ethnographic research – culture and forms

Quantitative research – Numbers and phenomenon. Prove again and again and say that it works. More about measuring.

• Statistics
• Bell curve – Large number  of people (10% needs a large number)

Mixed methods – Some description and some measurements survey, ask the same question in many different ways.

Methods – to be able to use more than one method in a research

Case study/studies – look for one thing; e.g one classroom, one set of children, one child (who is very reluctant and his progress through the term)

Formal observations – check list

Informal observations – observe every day at a particular time

Field notes – taken at class then and there

Journals – to think about the session and reflect later

Interviews, individual and group – one on one with child or with a group

Video and audio tapes – with video on needs to be careful as it changes the way one acts in from of cameras, with audios on can review at a later time.

Surveys –  Has sample of different sources and structures in comparison e.g rural/urban, young/old, men/women,

Then we had a look at the work done in kindergarten and how it can be considered a research.

## STEM land 3rd birthday!!

On 16th October 2018 we celebrated STEM land’s 3rd birthday in Udavi school. A week ago children were back from their first term holiday and worked on creating projects to present during the celebration. Some children attended the scratch course conducted during the vacation and created projects on Scratch.

It was quite a busy morning, both children and STEM land youths were so energetic and were decorating and organizing the place. 9th graders from Udavi decorated the entrance of STEM land with colorful Rangolies. Tables were placed outside STEM land and children checked out the games and puzzles which they were interested and played them with the visitors.

Children and Teachers from Aikiyam and Isai Ambalam schools came. We commenced the event with a samosa and a banana for each.

It was a bit drizzling but we continued the celebration and STEM land youth gave an introduction about STEM land by saying the universal values and principles of STEM land, ground rules, learning rules and about the courses that we offer for youth in and around Auroville. One of our volunteers in STEM land who come to learn have also shared her experience and what she has learnt.

Then Sanjeev from Udavi followed by teachers from Udavi, Isai ambalam, Aikiyam  and Bridget from Thamarai lit up the lamp and begun the celebration. In front of the staircase the flames of the candles were beautifully dancing and saying “STEM LAND” and warmly welcomed everyone. Children’s projects were recorded and were projected.

Children from Isai Ambalam have also brought their projects and their EBD models. They were explaining their projects, demonstrated light sensing robot which they’ve made within two days and were also playing strategic games. Few Isai Ambalam  children also played games which were programmed by Udavi school children on Scratch.  The volunteers have also presented their project which lights up the LED serial lights only when someone stands in front of it and gets turned off automatically when no one is there.

It was unexpected and touching that the children from Isai Ambalam school have baked cakes and wrote STEM on them and brought them to Udavi. Visitors from Auroville and few people who have attended the courses offered by STEM land have also visited and played games with children. They went around STEM land and got to know what all we do and how children learn in STEM land and also solved some cast puzzles.

Everything went smoothly and the celebration ended with the same energy along with children’s drumming. It was fantastic to see both Isai ambalm and Udavi children drumming together. Children and visitors danced and enjoyed the celebration.

## Sets game

A few girls from 10th grade had build a physical game with a chart representing 3 venn diagrams (governed by 3 randomly selected rules by one team) and a set of 27 games pieces (3 shapes, 3 sizes and 3 colors). The other team players needs to place a piece on one of the areas and ask if it fits there. The goal is to figure out the original rules selected for each circle of the Venn Diagram and demonstrate the understanding of set theory. A few 9th grade children choose set language as their goal as they played with this game. The game helped them in understanding the intersection of two and three sets. Then to make the game more interesting they modified the rules to guess the right answer within few attempts.

A 9th grader took this to the next level and did not just wanted to play the game on the chart but wanted to create a Scratch game to do the same. Children who did not know, and had the set language as in their syllabus learnt the concept by playing his game.