Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Scientific Trip

Hello friends,  

It was not an ordinary Sunday, because on ordinary Sundays we don’t get up at 6.30 in the morning. It was special because we along with our evening batch kids were going for an excursion to Nehru Science Center & Nehru Planetarium and we had to be at the center by 7.45 am. The kids came in early by 7.30am- all well dressed and waiting for their teachers to arrive. The kids were super excited and the teachers were all ready for the day. (Amruta Teacher, Deepali Teachers because there were two Deepalis -Sadanand Sir, Rupesh Sir and Lakshmi Teacher). One of our volunteer Kailash's daughter Manisha too had joined this bacchha-party!

We had lots of snacks and water bottles with us. But we still had to take the Breakfast & Lunch packets. Carrying everything would have been difficult. So we just took 2 bottles (kids had brought their water bottles) and few biscuits and cakes. The humidity level was high so was the energy level of kids. We made pairs of kids and started the trip. On the way we collected the lunch packets from Vasanti Aunty. Just 10 mins walk and the kids were already thirsty. They finished around 5-6 bottles of water at Vasanti Aunty’s place (we picked up our food for Lunch from Vasanti Aunty’s place). We felt we should have taken more water bottles. In next 15 mins we were at Airoli station. Both Deepali teachers meanwhile joined us. Rupesh Sir also came there with Breakfast- Idlis & 2 new members (???) We got the tickets and went to the platform No 1 .Here we divided ourselves in groups, so that each volunteer could take care of 3-4 students. And now it was time for introduction of these 2 new members. Both the boys introduced themselves to the group in English.
Antaryami- has given his 12th Commerce exam. Learning Computers and soft skills in Sion. (Program conducted by an NGO-Each one Teach One) Ajay (Antaryami’s brother)-has given 10th exam.

(LEAD has helped these boys in their education by making arrangements for their educational fees. On advice of Rupesh Sir they are learning computer and soft skills that will help them in future)

We took the train to Thane and from there a fast local starting from Thane. The train started and along with started the most popular game- Antakshari ;-) From recent songs to Marathi songs to old Hindi songs. We were amazed to listen to those old songs!!

Singing, giggling and clicking photos the time passed really fast. We got down at Byculla station and took a bus to Nehru Science Center. Rupesh Sir had already made the ticket arrangements a week back. Since we had a show at 11.00am we decided to have breakfast-Idli and chutney.

Faces were glowing and eyes were trying to capture everything. We headed straight to the hall on 1st floor for a 3D show. The special Goggles were On---Lights Off and soon we were in midst of hissing snake, crazy rats, neurons and blood cells. Curious and scared kids were making hand movements in air. This thrilling show ended after 20 mins. ”Teacher bhiti watli!!” said most of the kids.

Then began our tour of science center. Nine galleries and 2 shows in just 4 hours means we had to be quick. The guide started explaining the exhibits – The 1stgallery – Science for children -- but it was difficult for her to manage 20 kids…So we again made groups and started explaining.

Funny mirror reflections, white and black plate (concept of radiation), many needles (pressure concept), face on plate and so on…..Kids were so excited that they could not decide which one to watch first and which one to watch second.

Next we had a show –Tara Mandal”. A mini planetarium! We had to crawl into a tent like structure. The guide took us on tour of various “Nakshatras” (constellations) and told us the interesting mythological stories to remember their names and positions. We enjoyed the night sky ambience and learnt about stars, planets, constellations etc. in the interactive demonstration in an inflatable planetarium dome. 

After that we had a movie show- Science Odyssey – Projection on a dome shaped screen with fish-eye lens projector to give you an immersible experience. We were shown a movie on protection of Coral reefs. It was Colorful, exciting and informative but at the end some of the kids started complaining about the headache.

It was almost 1.00 pm- Lunch time! Vegetable Pulau, pickle and Kokam sherbet…now everyone was feeling better.

After lunch we moved on to the next gallery- Sound & Hearing. It was very noisy –full of all sorts of sounds. Kids went around beating drums, blowing pipes and walking on piano. Time was running out. We moved to the next galleries – Light & Sight - and then Human & Machine “Ye sachi ka hai kya?” asked kids after seeing the brain specimen. They shook hands with a statue to hear “Hello, and made the movements of a skeleton with the help of stick (concept-right side of brain controls the left side of body)

Kids had great time seeing the working models. But as many of these concepts have not been taught to them in school they could not appreciate the models in true sense.

We had a Hindi show at 4.30pm at Nehru Planetarium. So we could not see other galleries. We had to bid bye to the Nehru Science Center, thanking the 3 wonderful guides. Waiting for the bus now in the sun, we were yearning for water. So we had some juicy mangolaa at the bus stop.

We reached Nehru Planetarium at 4.15pm. The cool entrance hall helped us relax and then we headed to the dome hall. Lights Off…. few stars in the sky…and few more…and many many more……constellations…..origin of universe…planets…sun…..death of star…all these in the backdrop of stern and and then …Lights ON….

After the show we decided to go to Haji Ali .We decided to make the kids walk & experience the wonderful feeling of walking by the roaring Arabian sea rather than taking a bus. But with every step the distance appeared to increase, but some photo-sessions on the way were a good relief. We covered the stretch up to the main circle only. But learnt that there was lot of rush on the connecting road. We dropped the idea. Now it was time to return .But how??? Buses were crowded and no taxiwalla was ready to come to Byculla station. Luckily we got one taxi and subsequently the other two.

Took Kasara fast local and came back to Thane. And then from Thane to Airoli. Bid good bye to everyone. Now left were Amruta and Rupesh at Airoli station with the kids. Rupesh arranged rickshaw for Rupali who stays in Sathey Nagar & took Airoli gaav kids along with him in another auto. Sec-17 kids went on their own.

And the extra ordinary Sunday thus came to an end ;-)

Here is the link to the snaps:

Thanks and Regards
Amruta Lokhande
LEAD Foundation

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