A 5-day residential camp (Vigyan Jyoti) based on experiential learning was piloted from June 12th to 16t, 2018. When it led to a positive response, to assess its impact objectively, a second one was conducted from June 18th to 22nd, 2018 and the third from January 21t to 25th, 2019. 25 meritorious students of Class 6 – 8 were selected from Government Schools each time, to participate in this workshop.
The primary aim of the program was to create STEM enabling environment and strengthen the scientific temper of participants. As early grooming reaps big rewards, promoting interest in science and technology amongst the students in the early education years has the potential to be very beneficial.
In this workshop we tinkered, cut, stuck, pulled things apart and put them back together. Students made spinners, motors, generators, gliders, pumps, levitating pens, sprinklers and many more toys using inexpensive day-to-day material. Once done making, they explored the science behind each of the toys. The goal of this hands-on approach to science is to make learning joyous and experiential. The students saw how seemingly simple looking “toys” can demonstrate complex and beautiful scientific concepts.
In today’s competitive and fast-paced world, we don’t get enough time to explore. Here, in the camp, the curriculum was presented in way which deeply engages the students and makes learning a joyous process. For example, they made a sprinkler to understand centrifugal force and a straw spinner to study Newton’s third law. When we really make something using the concept we have learnt in the books, the learning gets contextualized and is meaningful. Students can then relate more to the concepts presented in the textbooks more when they build something using the concept.
During the course of 5 days, the focus was to get the students excited about science. They were exposed to various creative DIY STEM models, igniting their inherent curiosity and creativity. Moreover, they got to explore IITGN laboratories and the library and this might have inspired the little ones to become engineer and scientists when they grow up! While each participant made so many things at the camp, they also got a take-away pack of raw materials that can be used to make 50+ toys themselves!
The students got an opportunity to update their knowledge and skills. They gave encouraging feedback to conduct such programs in future also. The biggest accomplishment of this program was the dramatic increase in student engagement; evident from the amount of time (almost 30 minutes) each student spent in filling out the feedback forms. Almost everyone wanted to remain here and didn’t wish to go home!