– written by Vineeta Thomas, a senior team member of Mantra Social Services
The famous scientist Kalpana Chawla once said “When you look at the stars and the galaxy, you feel that you are not just from any particular piece of land, but from the solar system.”
There is something about the stars and the night sky that mesmerises the adults and children alike. This new year started on a very exciting note for our children at various partner schools. Mr. Rajkishore from Azim Premji University spent quality hours with the higher primary students and conducted his interesting sessions on Solar system, Stars, Constellations (Star families), lack of gravity in space etc.
He was full of charisma and was full of energy while keeping the students engaged at all time. Each of the students thoroughly enjoyed the sessions. He talked about various aspects of the solar system, the stars and their distance from Earth, how they form constellations and about various concepts that were new to the students. He kept the sessions interactive and consequently, the students were attentive throughout and kept asking him questions, in return.
“We should make a poem on the sun“, stated a curious student, when being explained about how Sun is a star. Students were never exposed to a forum where they could make statements, share their opinions, clear their inhibitions and grow their knowledge. They were given the ownership of the workshop and they felt a part of the discussion. Certain questions raised by the students made us think that students need to be given the liberty to ask questions, make mistakes and reason out themselves.
These sessions gave students an opportunity to express their curiosity. The students were introduced to a software called, Stellarium which shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what one sees with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. Students were so excited to see the planetarium like image on the projector and were absolutely thrilled. To end the sessions, there always was a simple, yet exciting experiment of making a rocket using a thread and balloon (Ref. Arvind Gupta Toys).
It was a great opportunity for the students to learn, explore and experience the true magic of science.