Students of Vidyanjali High School on Bhowanpore’s Ram Mohan Dutta Road and Shri Jain Vidyalaya on Howrah’s Bon Bihari Bose Road are discovering science anew. Though students of classes VI to IX in these schools still don’t have access to labs, a novel initiative by two students of St Xavier’s Collegiate School has infused thrill into science learning by exposing them to simple practical experiments.
Vigyan Stem Labs is an initiative by Umang Chamaria and Nilesh Shah, Class XII students of St Xavier’s, to make practical-oriented learning available to underprivileged students. The duo is in talks with principals of five other schools to extend the experience to hundreds of students.
“Students like us who have the privilege to study in schools with excellent infrastructure are at an advantage when it comes to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Syllabus-oriented learning doesn’t allow students to delve deep and explore hidden interests. We thought about doing something about it and hence the Vigyan Stem Labs was born,’ explained Chamaria.
He and Shah went through the curriculum to design experiments that would visually explain concepts the students are currently learning as part of their syllabus. To demonstrate heat transfer, the two use oil and water with food colouring. The coloured water is first poured in a transparent glass cylinder into which oil is added. “We then add a sachet of Eno. As it dissolves, it generates heat and water molecules rise, demonstrating the process of convection,” said Shah.
To explain water pressure, they take a plastic bottle of water and punch holes at different levels. The students get to see that water sprouts differently and travels varying distances. They have devised numerous other simple practicals for their classes.
Saswati Datta, principal of Vidyanjali High School, was all praise for the initiative. “Vigyan Stem Labs has been very effective. Umang and Nilesh have inspired the students to conduct their own experiments and share them with others,” she said. Bina Gupta, science teacher at Shri Jain Vidyalaya, said the two were able to connect with students as they were young and came across as friends.
While Chamaria and Shah try to be present whenever Vigyan Stem Labs are held, they have roped in students of classes X and XI from Heritage School, Modern High School, DPS Megacity and their own school as volunteers. to hold classes when they are not available.
Source: Times of India