The students of Std. 08 were taken on an educational field trip to the Agastya International foundation in Kuppam on the 5th and 6th of July. Students were accompanied by four teachers.
About the Agastya International Foundation
It is a non-profit educational trust. The campus is set in 172 acres of undulating terrain among the rolling hills of a rural district, Gudivanka, in Andhra Pradesh. The mission of the foundation is to spark curiosity, nurture creativity and build confidence. It seeks to transform and stimulate the thinking of economically disadvantaged children by bringing innovative Science education to their doorstep.
We left early on the 5th of July. We reached the campus around 11 am. After a quick breakfast, we were taken to one of the Chemistry Laboratories, where the students were briefed about the various adulterants that can be present in milk. Students then tested the given milk samples for seven different adulterants. The activity was concluded by a discussion on how to test for adulteration of milk at home, and other adulterations in different food items purchased from market.
Post lunch, students visited the Physics Laboratory. Here they were given an egg, asked to hold it vertically between their palms and apply force to break it. To their surprise, they found that in spite of applying as much force as they could, they were unable to break the egg. For the activity that followed they were divided into groups and each group was given an egg, 100 g of newspaper and some thread. They were also allowed to use any bio-degradable materials that they could find from the surroundings. The aim was to use these materials and drop the egg from the first floor without breaking it. After 45 minutes of work, three out of nine groups succeeded in dropping the egg without breaking it. From here, they were introduced to momentum and impulse, and were given the explanation as to why the egg broke or did not break. After a detailed and quick visit of the Physics laboratory, students now moved to the Sensorium – Biology Laboratory.
In the Sensorium Lab, the students discussed the structure of an eye. Here they were introduced to the mechanism of how human beings can ‘see’ things. They made models to understand the persistence of vision. Through a guided origami session, the instructors helped the students create the external structure of an eye. Then the students were introduced to optical illusion and visual perception. To make them understand the concept they were guided to create a simple model and discussed the working of the model.
In the Art Lab, the students came across multiple ways to use recycled materials. The art teacher introduced and explained to them how to creatively use plastic cans, metals, stones, pebbles to create paintings and models. The exhibition gave them an insight that recycling is necessary to sustain our planet’s resources, and that it is equally valid as a creative and innovative source of material in art and recycling is a subject widely propagated in the field of arts.
The next morning, we were taken on an eco walk around the campus. We were told that the land was completely barren 20 years ago, but now it has various endemic species of trees, the common ones being the red sandalwood, sandalwood, neem, etc. These trees house many species of birds like parakeets and peacocks. The campus also has abundant supply water, due to the rain water harvesting done there.
After the eco walk, we had breakfast and started back for Bangalore with a lot of learning, a lot more interesting questions, a lot of fun and happiness at having learnt so much in such a short time. The only regret was that one day does not do justice for exploring and experiencing the wealth of resources the campus has to offer and we look forward to a longer visit.