Education for Life: June 2019 Science Fair
Science fairs are pretty standard events for American schools. This is not the case in India, however, especially among public school students. That is why the neighborhood children at the Education for Life Centre were so enthusiastic last June about the idea of putting on their own science exhibition. Education for Life is a MarketPlace program which reaches out to the area children offering them resources and support not normally available to them. A science exhibition was a great way for the students to learn to do research, write project plans, handle a budget and give a presentation. The buzz this created in the community attracted new families to the Centre to learn about what it had to offer. Area preschool teachers were on vacation break, but they were curious enough to attend the presentations to see what these kids were capable of.
A total of 47 students, between the ages of 10-15 years old participated. They were divided into 13 groups and for nearly a month they worked hard to choose and prepare their projects. Education for Life provided funding, computer time and other resources. Exhibition 2019 was held at an open area in Santa Cruz E, where the teams showed off their models and posters and presented their research and findings. There was competition, but also cooperation, curiosity, and mutual appreciation. All the teams were justly proud of their accomplishments and look forward to more such events. Below are five of the projects which delighted the attendees.
One team focused on Waste Management. Vivek Mali, Shubham Gupta, and Shivam Gupta named their group "Force of Lion." Their aim was to teach people how to manage household waste, which they divided into bio-degradable, non-decomposable and hazardous waste. "Our idea was to make people aware that some of the garbage produced at homes can be recycled and reused and the rest needs to be disposed of properly."
The "We are Unbeatable" team (Anshika Jaiswal, Rishabh Shukla, Vernon Britto, Prem Kanojia and Deevesh) was inspired by a YouTube video on rainwater harvesting. Water management is a huge concern in India and the children were adamant that "there needs to be a plan" to conserve water. They constructed a model showing how rainwater which is usually wasted can be collected, filtered and reused for plants, cleaning house and washing clothes.
Going for a more dramatic presentation, the "Rameshwar Team" of Swaraj, Om, Harsh, Yatharth, and Sanjraj made a model of a volcano eruption. Inside of a paper mountain they concealed a bottle. When carbonated water and color were poured into the bottle the bubbles "erupted" to resemble lava. "We enjoyed working together as a team on the project. It was the first time that we took part in an exhibition."
Tackling the topic "Mechanical Energy to Electrical Energy" the all-girl team (aptly dubbed "Gang of Girls") researched the science of wind energy. Palak Shukla, Priya Mallah and Khushi Sharma wanted to understand how wind energy can be converted and used as electrical energy. Their working model employed a fan and a gear box to boost the fan's torque. This force was converted into electrical energy by a DC generator and used to power a LED light. "We learned from the process of making the project, the planning and budgeting. This will help us in the future."
"Blue Star Boyz" (Lazarus Fernandes, Vikalp Tambe, Mayuresh Mistry, Raj Patlekar, and Chinrayu Puralkar) studied another kind of power: solar energy. They built a model which they used as a visual aid as they explained how solar energy can be used to draw water from a tube well to irrigate farms. Because the others had to attend school at the time of the presentation, it actually fell to Raj to represent the team - which he did very well. He explained, "The project was prepared by the whole team, but I was alone to answer all the questions. It was a great experience for us."
All in all, the 13 groups presented a great variety of topics, models and informational materials. It was a fantastic way to showcase their talents, skills, hard work and potential to the community at large. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of COVID-19 the schools and the Education for Life Centre are now closed. We all look forward to the day when the children can once again follow their curiosity and their dreams as part of this program.