Toy Story: Scrap models to make science a game, learning fun

In a bid to make science more interesting for children, a group of engineering professionals are changing the way they learn by making it a game, through a project to create miniature working models to explain the laws of Physics to begin with before expanding the area to cover other subjects in science.

P Sridhar, an engineer working with Eaton Technologies, Pune, spearheading the project that aims at making working models says, "The focus right now is on Physics. We try to explain principles and laws of physics like total internal reflection of light, how electricity is generated, Newton's laws of motion to name a few. The topics covered are in their curriculum."

The models are built using low-cost material like thermocol and scrap items like spokes of bicycle wheels. The group, comprising six friends and colleagues, have joined hands with an NGO based in the city, the Global Research Education And Training (GREAT) Foundation. They will present and explain the models to students of nine schools the NGO supports.

"We are trying to add more models every week. Exams are now on and there will be holidays later. So we won't start presenting our project until after November 14," says Sridhar, who has a masters degree from The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and had shifted to Pune a year back. Through the science project in the city, Sridhar who incidentally had taken part in a project in Bangalore called the Notebook Drive, alon with his team hopes to help schoolchildren understand science and learn to like it.

"We plan to encourage them to make certain models themselves. We will provide them with low-cost materials for models. They can then come and explain the working of the model," says Sridhar.

One of the members of the team, Aditi Khare, is also training children on how to build toys for the Jet Toy Olympics at the A World In Motion competition, whose mission is to make the understanding of mathematics, science and technology more fun. "These will be made using paper and other simple materials. The aim is to help them understand the science and engineering behind it," says Aditi. The regional round of the competition will be held at the Millenium National School, Karvenagar, on October 22.

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