Arvind Gupta

This book is full of DIY pumps you can make from trash or everyday materials...

Every little child does it
Making things from odds and bit
The whole world is a garbage pit
Collect some junk and make a kit.

You'll never be at a loss
Make do what you come across
Con - rod, piston, suction port
All these parts you don't import.

An attempt has been made in the book to show how some of modern junk (like tetra packs) can be recycled into joyous toys.

This booklet attempts to give a glimpse of some of the experiments and toys designed as part of the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme. Intensive use is made of things which are commonly available and with which the children are familiar. Many of the experiments were designed, often with the help of village children and teachers, in response to the dismal poverty existing in most village school.

Sting Games provides step-by-step instructions with illustrations for making diverse and interesting string figures. The fun-filled figures created by using strings of all sorts not only augment memory and imagination of young children but also enrich their hand-eye coordination.

Ten Little Fingers is a collation of innovative toys and science activities which the author has tried and tested in more than one thousand schools over the past twenty years. With detailed illustrations, each activity is clearly depicted. Children do not need fancy laboratories and expensive equipment for doing science activities. There is much, which can be done using throwaway things found at home. Only when children use ordinary things do they realise the relevance of science in everyday life.

Serious teachers have always raised such questions. These are legitimate concerns. With paucity of funds and poor infrastructure - how does one do justice to activity based science? There is enough evidence the world over to show that readymade kits gather dust. The models the children and teachers make themselves remain more enduring. There are amazing possibilities of doing creative science using simple, readily available materials.

Young children learn best from simple things. And naturally it is best for them to first understand those things that are around them in their daily lives. It is best for 2 or 3 children to work together on these activities so that they can share materials and help each other. Thus they begin to learn cooperation.

These activities need simple materials. This pullout is just a small sample of the possibilities of doing wonderful things.

Inspired teachers don’t get bogged down by rules and regulations. The weighty state curriculum does not cow them down. Instead, they carve out a special niche for themselves. They have faith in the resources and resilience of children. The limitation of the chalk-and-talk method are well known. They know that “activities” constitute great learning and children love them. They involve children as partners in organizing activities. They inspire children to recycle, reuse, reinvent waste into joyous toys and simple science models.

"I realized that quitting means just walking out of the 6 ft door. Yet people’s aspirations and responsibility don’t let them do it, sometimes forever. Because psychologically this was not what people were capable of because when their identity was defined by competing so intensely with other people, they could not imagine leaving” says this mechanical engineer-turned-STEM coordinator.

English

Alongside a successful and award winning career as an actress and director, Nandita achieved a Masters degree in Social Work from University of Delhi and has continuously worked with various NGOs. As a chairperson of the Children's Film Society, Nandita is passionate about producing and delivering high quality films for children. Nandita Das was a Yale World Fellow 2014. She was among the 16 emerging global leaders who were chosen from close to 4000 applicants. 

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