Jill Graczyk and Anna Wilkes, two undergraduate Biochemistry majors from Elon University are completing their 1-month long stay at CRHP. They are working under Physics professor, Dr. Martin Kamela, who is head of the up-and-coming Science Center on CRHP’s campus.
The aim of the Science Center is to provide an innovative way of teaching to invite children to use alternative ways of thinking and problem solving. There will be demonstrations and hands-on experiments with a variety of lab equipment. Children from standards 5 through 10 will spend a school day at the Center working in rotation, visiting chemistry, biology, physics and technology stations. Eventually, we hope to see a science park built near the center so that kids can enjoy some time outside while also unknowingly learning about science!
We have been familiarizing ourselves with the curriculum of schools in Maharashtra so the experiments are relevant and complement the teachings of their schoolwork. Currently we are creating prototypes for each experiment, testing which materials and ideas work and which do not. Through this process, we have definitely learned how to be resourceful. For example, we built a prototype to demonstrate watershed control using a large metal tray, tin foil, and recycled water bottles with a layer of cement on top. A shower-head will portray the rain, and students will have to construct dams with reusable clay to stop the flow of water from entering an imaginary village. We have also demonstrated one-way valve pumps with balloons.
We hope to introduce activities that are educational and applicable to life in India as well. Other topics that will be explored are plants at the cellular level, testing blood types and acid/base reactions. The construction of the Science Center is currently in progress; hopefully it will be finished by early September! We are very excited for this upcoming addition to campus and look forward to the first school children to visit!
Apart from working on the science center, we have been given the opportunity to explore other projects of CRHP. This has broadened our view of the organization and we have gained a deeper appreciation for all the hard work executed everyday here. We have also been fortunate enough to travel to Pune and Aurangabad where we were exposed to typical city life of India as well as historical sites and monuments. We feel that our time at CRHP has been well spent and inspirational. Thank you to everyone involved!