“Science is magic that works”Kurt Vonnegu
There is nothing more satisfying than looking at the round-galleon eyes of young children. More so when it dawns on them that what they believed to be magic so far, was simply Science that needed explaining.
Under the spell of this spirit, ILM Montessori organized a week filled with everything Science for their Upper Elementary section from August 1st to 5th, 2022. The week aimed to impress upon these young minds that no question can withstand the persistence of repeated attempts at answering it.
Leading up to the event, the air crackled with ill-concealed excitement. The children worked in Groups, to “deck the halls” with all things Science – Cartoons, notices, and drawings……they couldn’t stop laughing and discussing the upcoming week and how much fun it was going to be! After all, it was their golden opportunity to wrangle answers from their teachers, without the restrictions of a “topic” or “class”. The children were thrilled at the idea of learning more!
The week was organized into three major categories of events:
- Experimental demonstrations (complete with explanations for what was being demonstrated and a Q&A by the audience)
- Play-acting, where students had to dress up as a Scientist and shed some light on their lives and bodies of work.
- Talk-Show, where students collected questions from everyone they met and tried to find answers to them.
Tuesday, Aug. 2nd, was the day of Experimental Demos and Play acting. The children chose from various experiments, with the aid of Experiment Books and their general curiosity for phenomena around them. Ranging from experiments demonstrating surface tension and capillary action of water to charring sugar producing a “Chemical Black Mamba”, the day brought to the fore what our young scientists are fascinated by. Every demo was followed by an interactive session, where children asked deeply thought-out questions. Their hard work and dedication to these experiments were evident from how well-prepared they were to answer most questions. With minimal intervention from the teachers, these sessions became opportunities to learn beyond curricula and with abandon!
“The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the Future”Theodore Roosevelt
The experimental demonstrations were accompanied by Play-Acting, where children play-acted as a scientist from the past and told stories of their lives and contribution to Science. The children’s commitment to bringing the characters to life was beyond commendable! Complete with props and anecdotes, the stories were both informative and engaging.
Anusree chose to tell the stories of Charles Darwin, the legend who took on the whole world to propose the revolutionary “Theory of Evolution”. Looking dapper in a suit, Anusree took us through the life and works of Darwin, and how his journey on the HMS Beagle became a turning point in how man understood nature.
Shruthi, on the other hand, chose someone closer to home, to talk about. Dr Jagdish Chandra Bose, a pioneer of studies on radiowaves, came to life in Shruthi, who narrated his stories through thoughtfully designed props. The effort was well received by her fellow students, as it sparked an interest in Dr Bose’s life, a man whose work became the foundation for modern-day wireless communication.
Hamna chose a delightfully less-travelled road and dressed up as the French mathematician Sophie Germain. In her characteristic animated talking style, Hamna threw light on how Germain struggled through then prevalent gender bias, but still emerged a winner in the field of Mathematics. Hamna beautifully highlighted her contributions to Number Theory and Fermat’s Final Theorem, and everyone in the room grew an appreciation for women who break barriers.
Ayan chose a rather unorthodox scientist to portray, when he opted for Fritz Haber, “The man who killed millions but saved billions”. He charted the course of Haber’s life, the man to whom humanity owes its very existence today. Ayan highlighted how Science is but a mere tool and in the wrong hands with evil intentions, it can become a demon that can’t be tamed. The stories of how Haber weaponized science made the children pledge that they would never partake in activities where Science is a means to destruction. Sometimes, it is important to tell the stories of where humanity went wrong to bring about a commitment to righting those wrongs. Ayan did so beautifully and with empathy.
Adya and Ananth’s experiment
“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question”Eugene Jonesco
Thursday, August 4th, was all about Questions! The “Talk Show” was a culmination of weeks worth of questions that children had collected from their friends, parents and teachers. It is amazing how many of us wonder about many things around us but never know who to ask! Children had their moment to ask these very questions, and their teachers were happy to oblige. Ziyaam, Mohammad, Ayansh and Rayyan hosted the event, where the school Principal, Mr Navaid Alam, and Science Teacher, Dr Pritesh Dagur, tried to address their curiosity.
The questions ranged from wondering why the sky looks blue, to specifics like how does an airplane fly to wondering why the water is transparent! The session was all about us becoming children again……and not being scared to ask questions, however difficult or uncomfortable they may seem. The riveted looks on children’s faces were testimony that ILM Science Week had achieved what it set out to do – Instill a sense of wonder and eternal curiosity in the minds of the generation which will run the world soon!