VIVEK VIGYAN UTSAV – Summer Camp
Location – Parmeshwari Devi Dhanuka Vidyalaya
Our summer camp began with Vivek Vigyan Utsav (VVU). It’s celebrated as a learner’s festival to encourage Vivek (rationale), Vigyan (science) and Utsav (coming together and sharing happiness). 152 Students from 4 villages participated in this process. These 4 villages are – Chaumuha, Panigaon, Saur Guddar and Narayanpur.
Day 1 Vivek Vigyan Utsav
- Aims to develop students’ intellect and character through inquiry, observation, experiments and experience about self and the world around them.
- It provides platform for peer learning – students feel a new environment of interaction & engagement, prepare a topic/model for the event, write an explanation about the topic on a chart, observe others, communicate about their work, listen to others, ask questions, make notes about different models & charts being presented, etc.
Our volunteers – Jatin and Aditya (both B.Tech students from IIT Delhi) visited above mentioned villages and discussed different science & social science related concepts with students. Usually while introducing vivek vigyan utsav, we began the process with informal discussion in a simple language so that we gather students’ observations and experiences from daily life like how plants grow, animals and their life processes, life cycle, different machines used by us, different electrical appliances used in homes, etc. We also discussed how science helps to make meaning of sensory knowledge and also enables us to look beyond our sensory capacities giving examples of telescope and microscope, etc. Later, we brought technology into the picture w.r.t how the gathered knowledge is used for creating various goods like bike, car, mobile, etc
We discussed little bit about how these things work and posed some questions like – What will happen to a plant if it’s kept in a box and 2 days later a hole is made either in right or left side of the box? (One of the students chose this experiment and shared his conclusions with us). We asked several such questions related to alternative sources of power (which inspired solar energy related models), types of energy (a student made a boat which used energy from rubber string), natural phenomenon (models – volcano), how we operate and our values (model and charts about human brain, quotes about human beings, human being as a totality of body, mind and soul, quotes from philosophers and saints, stories and poems, etc.)
Some more activities undertaken by students
- Three groups of students prepared questionnaire, interacted with elders and prepared village profile.
- Two groups identified local herbs, asked their benefit from elders and listed them in a chart.
- One group collected information about temples in Vrindavan and presented the information with pictures
Some models that grabbed the attention of students –
- Toy Robot – with the help of motor and battery (was moving its hands and leg)
- Hydraulic pump and how machines like JCB, tractor unload heavy stuff (made with the help of syringe, pipes, carboard sheets and wood)
- Water tank alarm
- Water filter
- Model of human brain (designed like a helmet or a big cap)
- Maths games – board games designed by students, lcm and hcf related games, etc.
- Solar power
Students invested 1-2 hours per day for around 8-12 days to think, gather information and build their models and charts for explaining their model. They felt that this process was really important as it required them to think about one think from multiple angles – something which if learnt, enables an individual to become critical thinker and also makes him/her sensitive towards daily experiences. We are planning to bring more students and also make the process more diverse and interactive. Your ideas and support will be awaited!
More about the 6-day camp
- Students were divided into groups of 10. They imagined a space ship and a new planet for themselves.
- Task – They had to 1) name the planet, discuss what it will look like, types of living and non-living things available 2) decide the course of life of humans on this planet 3) design signs and symbols, a logo as well – something that represents their planet. They also had to explain their logo. Students did this task enthusiastically. Mostly the names were chosen as – abbreviation of name of members, based on superhero, cartoon character, based on living things present on the planet etc. The signs were carefully designed.
- Next task – 1) Identify ten values (something that is essential for them in daily living) 2) share their values with team 3) create social values of group 4) again individual exercise – cut values/essentials for living as per priority one by one (it helped them find what’s most important for them).
- These exercises were intense and everyone couldn’t come up with an outcome. But, most of them engaged in the process and tried to think about it.
- The students sat in 6 different groups. They were shown different images like a hair cutting salon, a street vendor selling coconut, a farmer, a teacher, a policeman, a vegetable seller, etc. The discussion provided a feel about ‘local economy’.
- Role play- In their respective groups they created different scenarios and enacted them. For example – how a teacher gets his salary and spends/saves during a month. Group members assumed different characters like grocery shop owner, vegetable seller, doctor, sweet shop owner, cloth merchant, etc. This exercise helped them to understand flow of money as some of them took production-based scenario while some took service-based scenario. Facilitators helped them with ideas and also with keeping track of time. All the groups enjoyed this process and presentation.
- Later, they were also introduced to the concept and process of flow of money and role played by households, companies, govt, etc.
Understanding rural development and planning
- Students were given an exercise to think about an ideal village – what all should be there in an ideal village and draw it in form of a map.
- This exercise enabled them to learn about village planning, essential facilities required by people and where to place them in a village, map making, etc.
Understanding political system
- Task – identify problems and challenges in their village -discuss them- create a political party, slogan, symbol, etc
- Choose their leader-Campaign
- Each candidate was supposed to prepare a speech
- This exercise took more than 3 hours
- Candidate’s speech followed by voting
- Surprisingly, the youngest candidate won despite least number of members in her group