Students share their love of science with Indian children

Students got the chance to share their love of science with hundreds of youngsters when they helped out at a science fair in India.

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The science fair took place at a community centre in the heart of the Ramapir No Tekro slum and children from the slum and local primary schools attended.

Experiments ranging from an impossible string theory puzzle to a potato-powered battery, mini volcano and renewable energy projects were on show at the event in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, to mark World Science Day.

It was run by the Manav Sadhna, a not-for-profit organisation in Ahmedabad, which is supported by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Square Mile India project.

The event was held to encourage pupils to carry out experiments and share lessons learned in science classes at the ashram. DMU students from the Faculty of Technology, including Engineering, Mechatronics and Business Information Systems, helped them run experiments, sharing their skills and knowledge.

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Nasir Balera, studying Mechanical Engineering, introduced the youngsters to string theory. He said: “My favourite part of this trip has been interacting with the kids. We have been preparing activities for them, showing them how strong you can make materials and how that can be used in bridge building and planes. We also showed them the ‘infinity loop’ which I remember being taught!

“It has been really eye opening coming here and seeing how the children are so happy even though they have very little, and how everything is done as part of a community. It has made me appreciate education even more and the opportunities we have.”

Business Information Systems student Fadzai Chitunhu said she was impressed by the children’s enthusiasm at the science fair. She was also involved in another DMU project at the ashram, to teach the youngsters how to use Microsoft Excel.

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It is based on a maths skills project run in Leicester’s primary schools by DMU Accounting and Finance tutor Aaron Toogood.

 She said: “They were so enthusiastic to show us what they had done and the experiments were as good as we did at GCSE.

“We were involved in the Excel teaching. I was able to use what I knew to aid people to improve their maths and do maths at a more efficient rate.”

Students from DMU visit the ashram throughout the year, each bringing different skills and focus depending on their course. Performing Arts students led dance and drama sessions, while Education Studies students have led English language classes.

The collaboration is further supported by the Square Mile India Fund, a charitable trust which staff and students at DMU as well as the wider community in Leicester contribute to. Money raised helps buy equipment and learning materials for the youngsters. 

Posted on Wednesday 22nd March 2017

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