Education  India Project #22595

Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education

by Agastya International Foundation
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Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education
Help Children Access Hands-On Science Education

Due to COVID lockdown, Agastya reached out to children through online platforms. To address this need, Agastya has developed an online education module, called EPL- 'Explore, Play and Learn'. Our online modules are designed by AIF academic team. EPL is designed in such a way to cater to maximum number of children who are accessible to internet connectivity. We launched EPL 1.0 and subsequent improvised version EPL 2.0 launched. EPL 1.0 is designed for only 'Whats App' platform and EPL 2.0 designed for 'Whats App' and Google meet. In EPL 1.0 classes, we follow simple interaction with children via audio, texts, and pictures, etc. If required supporting videos and respective links are shared with children. In EPL 2.0 we follow intensive interaction with children by taking online classes on Google meet thrice a week. Remaining days we give them concept-based activities.

Coverage:

• We reached 7,000+ children exposures towards EPL in Q2 quarter July-Sep 2021.

• Covered science topics which include Simple Math’s, Disaster Management, History of Paper, Optics, Dynamics, Pressure, Botany Scavenger Hunt, Health and Hygiene, etc. and also Fun activity

EPL focuses on:

• Promoting self-learning and self-exploring capacities of students and enables to learn through their household materials and daily life situations.

• Questioning among students and interacting with experts

• Learning through the digital content of Agastya We have come up with specially designed grade-specific EPL modules which are topic specific and run from Monday to Friday with a specific task on each day. In short, there will be two EPL modules per week one each for upper primary and high school students.

We have come up with specially designed grade-specific EPL modules which are topic-specific and run from Monday to Friday with a specific task on each day. In short, there will be two EPL modules per week one each for upper primary and high school students.

Special Program:

Conducting Special Event for Awareness on Fire and safety, Awareness about Coronavirus. Overall, 120 Students participated in the Special Program. Students raised questions and our instructors cleared their doubts. Students actively participated in the virtual session.

Community Visit:

Conducted community visits in the targeted area. Created awareness about Corona virus, health, and Hygiene to the community and children.

Science Fair:

Conducted online Science Fair. Models like Simple Models Recycle Innovation, etc. were done. Overall, 34 Students participated and explained about models to other students and teachers.

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At the Science Centre, 100+ science experiments and models are exhibited (Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Ecology and Astronomy). Government school teachers and children visit the Centre, and are given the opportunity to interact with simple science experiments and models. Science Centres act as a resource centre and a venue for Teacher Training, Young Instructor (YI) training, Summer Camps and Science Fairs. Agastya can also conduct special training activities like Project-Based Learning (PBL), Discovery-Based Learning (DBL), and Integrated Learning from the second year of operations. The Science Centre is a space for children and teachers to experience learning in a hands-on, interactive and positive environment. Children perform experiments, learn to make simple models with easily available low-cost materials and participate in team-based projects.

Reach and benefits of the Science Centre

  • Foster curiosity, critical thinking and creativity through hands-on programs.
  • Act as a hub for Agastya’s Mobile Labs and provide a strong and dynamic learning resource base for local schools.
  • Help catalyse local rural schools and educators to improve the content and quality of education.

Science Centre Programs

The following are a list of programs that can be organized at a Science Centre.

The Young Instructor Program

Apart from teaching and demonstrating through

Experiments, Agastya identifies and trains students to be Young Instructors where children teach science to their peers. A select group of students is identified with the help of Agastya instructors and school teachers. Young Instructors are selected based on their innate curiosity, questioning nature and ability to think laterally, not on their ability to secure good grades. They are provided special training on science models in addition to training to build their capacity and skill in presentation and communication.

They explain scientific concepts at Science Fairs to other children. Peer-to-peer learning helps learners to absorb concepts and information without fear of being reproached thus eliminating learning and communication barriers that often exist between an adult and a child. Young Instructors take initiatives in their communities and act as agents of change.

Science Fairs

Science Fairs are held to enable Agastya reach a larger group of children. Using simple models 12- to 16-year-old young instructors demonstrate scientific phenomena such as the solar and lunar eclipse, seasonal changes, concepts such as pressure and volume relationship and the protein chains that link together to form insulin. The Science Fairs, in addition to targeting a large audience of children, serve as a platform to encourage Young Instructors to demonstrate science concepts to their peers through the peer-to-peer. This facilitates greater interaction and understanding of concepts, boosts confidence and improves communication skills.

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At the Centre, 150+ science experiments and models are exhibited (Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Ecology, and Astronomy). Government schoolteachers and children visit the Centre and are given the opportunity to interact with simple science experiments and models. Science Centres act as a resource center and a venue for Teacher Training, Young Instructor (YI) training, Summer Camps and Science Fairs.

The Science Centre is a space for children and teachers to experience learning in a hands-on, interactive and positive environment. Children perform experiments, learn to make simple models with easily available low-cost materials and participate in team-based projects.

 The following are a list of programs that can be organized at a Science Centre.

The Young Instructor Program (from first year of operation)

Apart from teaching and demonstrating through experiments, Agastya identifies and trains students to be Young Instructors where children teach science to their peers. A select group of students is identified with the help of Agastya instructors and school teachers. Young Instructors are selected based on their innate curiosity, questioning nature and ability to think laterally, not on their ability to secure good grades. They are provided special training on science models in addition to training to build their capacity and skill in presentation and communication. They explain scientific concepts at Science Fairs to other children. Peer-to-peer learning helps learners to absorb concepts and information without fear of being reproached thus eliminating learning and communication barriers that often exist between an adult and a child. Young Instructors take initiatives in their communities and act as agents of change.

Science Fairs (from first year of operation)

Science Fairs are held to enable Agastya reach a larger group of children. Using simple models 12 to 16 year old Young Instructors demonstrate scientific phenomena such as the solar and lunar eclipse, seasonal changes, concepts such as pressure and volume relationship and the protein chains that link together to form insulin. The Science Fairs, in addition to targeting a large audience of children, serve as a platform to encourage Young Instructors to demonstrate science concepts to their peers through the peer-to-peer. This facilitates greater interaction and understanding of concepts, boosts confidence and improves communication skills.

Teacher Training (from second year of operation)

Teacher training programs aim to diffuse and propagate creative-thinking and problem-solving skills among government school teachers. Agastya uses non-standard interactive approaches to transform teachers, for example, by offering modules that integrate learning and knowledge across the different subject areas. Agastya works with mixed groups of teachers and children to raise interaction and bridge the gap between teacher training and the demands of the school classroom.

Reach and benefits of the Science Centre

  • Generates over 10,000 student exposures* per academic year.
  • Foster curiosity, critical thinking and creativity through hands-on programs.
  • Act as a hub for Agastya’s Mobile Labs and provide a strong and dynamic learning resource base for local schools.  Help catalyze local rural schools and educators to improve the content and quality of education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Engagement for Learning Continues by virtual during the lockdown. Agastya suspended all its operations and asked employees to work from home and engage the students virtually. Agastya strongly believes that Teacher is a continuous learner and if self-study is triggered, learning takes its own momentum. With this we came up with “Shikshana – An online course for Instructors”. Shikshana Course Shikshana is a three weeks online course designed for the overall development of Instructors especially the subject understanding and creativity skills. The course is run on Google Classroom and consists of three sessions (Physics, Chemistry and Biology). Each session is subject-specific and runs for a week with specific task on each day. At the end of each session, there is an assignment that evaluates the learning.

Shikshana Course

Shikshana is a three weeks online course designed for the overall development of Instructors especially the subject understanding and creativity skills. The course is run on Google Classroom and consists of three sessions (Physics, Chemistry and Biology). Each session is subject specific and runs for a week with specific task on each day. At the end of each session, there is an assignment which evaluates the learning.

Structure of the course

Day 1 Topic Intro: Announcement of the topics and sharing the resource materials (literature, ABL handbooks, videos) on the topics.

Day 2 Training & Support: Training & Support – The Master trainers hold a discussion with the instructors on key terms, concepts and approach. About 15 instructors are attached to one IMT and the IMT facilitates all the training & support of Shikshana

Day 3 Mock Test: Prime reading day for instructors with a mock test at 3 pm.

Day 4 Expert Dial-in Session:This is unique feature of Shikshana course. While going through the resource materials and discussions, the instructors are expected to have doubts and questions. To clarify, Expert Dial in session is organized on day 4. Instructors can freely call the expert on given number and time slot and get their doubts clarified.

Day 5 Assignment day: AN assignment (online exam) is scheduled at 03:00 pm to 04:30 pm to evaluate the learnings of the topics. The assignment also has a section of quick feedback which takes suggestions on level of questions language, time etc for further improvement of next sessions.

Day 6 Training & Support Training & Support: The Master trainers again hold a discussion with the instructors on the assignment questions and the answers. This step further enhances the content and brings the uniform understanding.

Understanding Agastya better

With the grand success of Shikshana course, we had a session on “understanding Agastya better” and followed the above structure and had a series of discussions on vision, mission, values, and principles of Agastya. Different levels of line managers, regional heads and senior management & chairman involved in the discussions.

Creativity Challenge

To tap the potential of instructors and extract their hidden talents by providing a platform to showcase, Agastya is running Creativity Challenge along with Shikshana course. A central team is set-up which gives periodic challenges to the instructors to showcase their creativity. Some of the creativity challenges posted so far,

  1. Penning down the changes before and after joining Agastya
  2. To take an opportunity of undertaking week-long cleaning, cooking, home care initiatives.
  3. Sharing the thoughts about Agastya in the form of poems, cartoons, poster, short videos, dance etc.
  4. Penning down the own experience which has bought impact on child
  5. Getting “Letter of appreciation” from a person of choice.
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The Mobile Science Lab (MSL) is a very powerful and innovative instrument to revolutionize rural education and make hands-on education increasingly accessible. It is a catalytic channel that is fun, engaging and interactive, aimed to raise awareness among disadvantaged children and teachers of the value of learning - with a focus on science. Each MSL travels to doorstep of remote schools with 100+ hands-on science models covering a wide range of topics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology for Class 5 through 9. The teaching approach is consistent with the National Curriculum Framework and the topics overlap the NCERT syllabus. There are also experiments not directly correlated to the state syllabus but are intended to spark curiosity and encourage questioning among the children. The demonstration sessions emphasize interaction and questioning. Children are able to relate better to concepts explained through interactive demonstrations rather than through rote learning. MSL’s are highly effective in delivering large science fairs, and reaching community members through night community visits too. Night community visits allow the child beneficiary’s parents, family and community members to participate in learning sessions about various beneficial topics.

Activities facilitated by the Mobile Science Lab

Young Instructor Program (from first year of operation)

Apart from teaching and demonstrating through experiments Agastya identifies and trains students to be Young Instructors; where children teach their peers. A select group of students are identified with the help of instructors and teachers based on their innate curiosity, questioning nature and ability to think laterally, and not on their grades. These students are provided special training on science models in addition to building their capacity and skills in presentation and communication. They explain scientific concepts at Science Fairs to other children. Learners absorb concepts and information better through their peer instructors without the fear of being reproached, eliminating barriers that normally exist between an adult and a child. Young Instructors take initiatives in their communities and act as agents of change.

Science Fairs (from first year of operation)

Science Fairs are held to reach out to a larger group of children across age groups. Using simple models, 14 to 16 year old Young Instructors demonstrate scientific phenomena such as the solar and lunar eclipse, seasonal changes, concepts such as pressure and volume relationship and protein chains that link together to form insulin. The Science Fairs, in addition to targeting a large audience of children, serve as a platform to encourage Young Instructors to share science concepts with their peers (through the peer-to-peer learning method). This facilitates greater interaction and understanding of concepts, boosts confidence and improves their communication skills. Science Centres, as well as Mobile Science Labs, are both capable of supporting and organizing Science Fairs.

Teacher Training (after one year of operation)

Teacher training programs aim to diffuse and propagate creative-thinking and problem-solving skills among government school teachers. Agastya uses non-standard approaches to transform teachers, for example, by offering modules that integrate learning and knowledge across the different subject areas. Agastya works with mixed groups of teachers and children to raise interaction and bridge the gap between teacher training and the demands of the school classroom.

Night Community Visits (from first year of operation)

Mobile Science Labs operating in rural areas go on community visits during holidays and evenings (as time permits). The team visits villages and sets up interactive models and experiments in the popular gathering spots of villages. The Agastya team imparts a sense of responsibility to parents, while motivating them to send their children to schools. Specifically, the intentions behind community visits are:

  • To build strong relationships with community members and identify dropouts for mainstreaming
  • Liaise with Government School Development and Management Committees (SBMC) and interact with local leaders
  • Transfer Agastya’s experiences back to the community by advising about the importance of education

Reach and benefits of the Mobile Science Lab

  • Depending on the density of schools in the proposed catchment area, a single Mobile Science Lab can generate about 16,000 student exposures* per annum.
  • Mobile Science Labs access schools and raise awareness on the importance of hands-on science at a mass level. They are highly effective in delivering large Science Fairs and reaching community members (at night for example).
  • Mobile Science Labs help catalyse local schools and educators to improve the content and quality of education for rural children and teachers.

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Organization Information

Agastya International Foundation

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AgastyaSparks
Project Leader:
Ramji Raghavan
Bangalore, Karnataka India
$1,625 raised of $80,000 goal
 
98 donations
$78,375 to go
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