Most of us grew up learning science as a class where you memorise clunky, four-syllable words and follow instructions straight out of the lab manual.
That’s just the kind of thinking that we are working to change through our Annual Science Fair. Too often, we think that science is about rote memorization and step-by-step procedures, rather than active and live processes.
“Students have misconceptions…they think science must be conducted in a cookbook sequence,” says co-curricular coordinator, Kulkarni Savita. “We teach our students that science is a process. It’s messy, it’s here, it’s there. They might be doing something and all of a sudden they get data they didn’t expect and they’re off on a tangent. That’s real science.”
Our aim is to hook students to science so they can see how its concepts can be applied in their everyday life, not just with test tubes and chemicals.
The Science Fair, now in its fifth year at the Junior High Campus, stimulates thinking and creativity in students who are required to research, own and execute projects as they compete with each other.
This year’s theme was “Towards Sustainable Economic Empowerment through Science and Technology”.
Students who win will proceed directly to the global stage, where they meet champions from other international schools.
In the Senior school, Diya Shah and Toyesha Kaushik came first in the innovative technology category, while Vishnu Dhanda and Prnav Sarotra took the crown in both information technology and life sciences. Other winners were Dhanika Balsara and Jay Mehta in the art & design segment.
Dev Shah and Arjun Shrivastava were top in the innovative technology category, while Aryan Parpia and Tushar Falor won in life sciences as Hafsa Laiidin took art and design.
“The competition keeps you sharp,” says Savita. “The student is actually educating you as a teacher, which is a wonderful thing. They’re getting to tell you their discoveries. The roles get reversed here; that’s what I think is exciting for us teachers.”
The key goal is to teach students how to become researchers, such that whether they go on to language arts or become journalists or lawyers or doctors, they will be armed with these research skills.
One of the displays at this year’s science fair was by Surabhi Kosumbkar and Diya Shah, who sought to show how to extract methane gas scientifically from the common grass.
“In line with this year’s theme, we can have home-made cooking gas from common grass which is far much cheaper,” say Kosumbkar and her colleague Diya.
Other ideas showcased at the fair include machinery operations, renewable energy, calculus and various artistic items. The students presented solar water pumps, electronic excavators, windmills among others.