The Scientific Thinking Workshop, organized and conducted by School of Science, was a three-day activity-oriented workshop for children aged between 8 and 14. The workshop aimed at propagating a scientific attitude among brimming young minds. The Scientific Thinking Workshop was held from the 16th of May, 2018 to the 18th of May, 2018 in Coimbatore, India.
The Scientific Thinking Workshop was School of Science’s first step into the realm of offline education. The three-day workshop was designed to be child-centered and age friendly. Handled by five educators – Arjhun Swaminathan, Deepak Varma, Saradha Senthilvelu, Venkata Subramanian and Vineeth Rengaraj – the event progressed with each child getting an out-of-the-classroom experience.
The three days were generously interspersed with games, experiments, and storytelling, enabling children to discover science at its best.
The workshop began with a round of ice-breaking, where the facilitators and the children got acquainted with each other. Followed by this was a facilitation about the concept of speed and graphs. The children were split into four groups, and the youngest children of the age 8-9 learnt what speed really meant by having a race among themselves and calculating their speeds. They also learnt to plot points on a graph, and understood the convention of direction. The older children attained an intuitive understanding of calculus – tangents and integration – through an outdoor activity.
In the second session, children young and old discovered a method to make a hologram projector using transparent sheets. Each group made a projector and also learnt how real holograms are formed using laser interference methods. They understood how to make a projector for a screen of any size.
The session after lunch saw kids bubbling with excitement as they broke apart a computer and built it back again, all by themselves. Children found themselves asking questions about each part of a computer.
The day ended with a final event on light. Younger kids spectated white light being made of seven colours by a Newton’s Wheel. The activity sparked them to ask many other questions regarding light and how light is formed. On the other hand, older children were exposed to a spectrometer and its working. They tested out the spectrometer on various light sources to identify the components of each type of light.
The second day commenced with a two-hour long nature walk along Singanallur Lake, Coimbatore. Varun, a member of a conservation organization named CUBE, led the children on a trail marked with different species of plants. He took the children through various indigenous varieties of trees, and impressed upon them the alarming threats posed by pollution.
After the walk, the children watched an episode of COSMOS – a science narrative by Neil deGrasse Tyson. The episode, named The Immortals, explained the formation of life in the universe. Kids were exposed to a whole new perspective of life forms, and the origin and cycle of life. This session ended with a quick discussion about their ideas about how life was formed, and about the existence of other forms of life in the vast universe.
The afternoon session commenced with kids understanding how cameras work. The younger children were taught how images form on a camera – discovering that light behaves as a particle in the process. Kids also understood what shutter speed and aperture meant, and how they alter an image. Each child was enraptured while experimenting with a camera, learning what a photographer does to capture different types of photographs. They attempted to photograph light art in slow shutter speeds and tried to capture a droplet of water.
Day two ended with an interactive session about cars. The kids saw what the insides of a car look like. The older kids understood the basic mechanism that occurs when a person drives a car. Whereas, the younger children understood little details such as how brakes work.
The final day started off with an hour’s discussion about climate change. Children put forward their ideas about how to curb climate change as they watched videos that depicted man’s pernicious actions. They learnt shocking facts concerned with climate change, and exchanged thoughts on what they could and will do to not contribute to this global threat.
Right after this was a storytelling session for the young kids by Savita Natarajan, an educator and an experienced storyteller. While this was ongoing, the other kids were taught the science behind popular superheroes. Talking about various superheroes, the children indirectly learnt the science of mutations, gene editing, CRISPR, retroviruses, speed of light, neutron stars, exoskeletons and relativity as well.
The next activity was a competition to build a tall building using a stack of newspapers and a stapler. Children brainstormed and worked together to build the tallest newspaper edifice.
Kids of the age 8-11 learnt what Pi means mathematically, through an activity.
The afternoon session began with a game of science pictionary. Following the game, children learnt the working of rockets as they witnessed the launching of a water rocket, with exhilaration and awe. They also learnt what thrust meant and the various aerodynamic factors involved in the launching and flying of a rocket.
The workshop concluded with a question answer session where the facilitators answered any doubts the children had.
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Lunch and Snacks were provided at the venue for participants
More photos can be found here