Delhi schoolchildren ‘journey into outer space’ (With Images)June 20th, 2009 - 12:37 pm ICT by IANS
By Richa Sharma
New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) What makes the earth go around the sun, aeroplanes fly and volcanoes erupt? A group of 35 Delhi school students has been busy unravelling the mysteries of the universe and understanding basic science through a programme prepared by US space agency NASA.
The children - from at least eight schools in the capital - were part of a five-day summer camp ‘Journey into Outer Space’ being run by Mad Science, a global organisation working to spread science literacy among children in the age group of 7-12 years.
All the exercise kits at the camp were designed by NASA scientists and professional educators.
“We have learnt how scientific principles work in our day-to-day life through some simple experiments,” said Hardik Surana, a Class 7 student from Sardar Patel School.
“They gave us some practical demonstrations on what makes the sun rise and set, how solar and lunar eclipses take place and the time, temperature and seasons change on our planet Earth.”
In the capital for the first time, the camp sent children on a quest for exploration of outer space and understanding the fundamental laws of nature.
“Our mission is to spark imaginative learning through these workshops so that children are able to touch, feel and taste what science is really about,” Anirban Chanda, managing director of Blueprint Science Edutainment, a franchise of Mad Science in India, told IANS.
“Science education in our schools is limited to theoretical teaching and concepts are never cleared - which makes science a complex subject for the majority of students. Our aim is to make them understand what science is all about and how it effects the world around us,” said Chanda.
The workshop was divided into five sections - Earth and Beyond, Astronaut-in-Training, Solar Launch, Eye on the Sky and Space Voyage.
For the children, science was never so simple. They now understand how scientific laws work. They have been trained to recognise comets, planets, stars, constellations and participated in their own space mission through activity-based exercises.
Sitanshu Kumar, a student of St Columba’s School, who aspires to become an astronaut, said: “I never thought science was so simple and the workshop has helped in clearing my basic concepts related to the laws of nature.”
“I enjoyed it very much as we learnt everything about outer space through fun activities. I used to find science very difficult as in schools we are made to mug up everything like how a solar eclipse takes place or various layers of atmosphere and their properties. Here we saw them in practical and it is easy to remember them now,” said Nysa Kejwani, a student of Shri Ram School, Vasant Vihar.
The organisation charged Rs.4,500 per child for the workshop.
Shuchismita Majumdar, a trainer with the organisation, said: “It is a query-based training where we ask several simple questions to make children think. Our purpose is not to replace the elementary school education but help students get their concepts cleared through such programmes.”
“We involve them in creative activities based on scientific principles. It includes a three-dimensional solar system puzzle, steering a laser beam through a laser maze to find how laser technology works, rocket construction and propulsion principles,” she said.
The organisation has also tied up with several schools in Kolkata where they train children through curriculum-related hands-on science workshops.
(Richa Sharma can be contacted at email@example.com)
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