Field Trip to Ms. Chari’s Home and Singapura Lake
On Monday, 1st October 2018, the two sections of Std. 02 went on a field trip to Aditi faculty member, Ms. Chari’s home and to the Singapura Lake. This trip was organised in connection to the science unit on water.
We started from school soon after snack and headed straight to Ms. Chari’s home where students got an opportunity to understand how a rain water harvesting plant functions and how it can lead to the recycling of water. Students observed how rainwater is collected through pipes into an underground tank after getting filtered through layers of stone, pebbles and sand. They then saw a recharge well wherein the excess water gets accumulated. Ms. Chari told us how ‘grey’ water is used in their toilet flushes as a means of reusing water that drains out of the washing machine. A walk to the nearby Singapura Lake gave them an insight on how a natural body of water looks and how humans need to conserve it for the future.
Overall, it was an insightful trip that helped students understand modern techniques of recycling, reusing and reducing wastage of water.
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This workshop was conducted by us, Apoorv Avram and Aditya Sarin, for students of Stds. 10-12 in 2017 and 2018. At the end of this programme, we believe students will better understand their process of thinking, and appreciate how that understanding can be used to think incisively in different situations. This will equip students to interface with argumentation faster and more accurately, making them more comfortable with both explaining themselves and responding to the views of others. This has direct implications for students’ academic lives. In the short term, this translates to greater efficiency in reading to identify the specific answers for questions, and clearer written responses; this is of particular use when faced with unfamiliar questions, in examinations or otherwise. To acclimatise students to the rigours of academic thought, universities across the world have compulsory introductory courses on critical thinking for their incoming undergraduates. Our programme addresses a similar need, and will allow students to adapt faster and more comfortably to the challenging intellectual environment of higher education. Such courses are usually limited to undergraduates, but we see no reason why the same tools and abilities cannot be communicated in a high school learning context.
The Post – Movie Review
The Post is a skillful and compelling portrayal of a crucial episode in history during which a major government cover-up regarding US involvement in the Vietnam War was uncovered. Set nearly fifty years in the past, the film’s underlying themes remain as pertinent now as they were then. The movie focuses on a historical incident, emphasizes the art of journalism and freedom of speech and masterfully weaves in a sense of feminism that reminds us of how much more progress is to be made.
The event the film unfolds in sufficient detail is the publishing of the Pentagon Papers, which takes place in the backdrop of the Cold War period of 20th Century history that we have studied in depth. Possessing prior knowledge regarding the Vietnam War and the larger conflict between the two superpowers informed my understanding of how crucial a revelation was made. A number of the historical figures mentioned were not unknown to me; I already had an awareness of their roles and contributions during this contentious time and this helped me better appreciate the film and the somewhat familiar story it was weaving. As a history student, I was able to draw connections between aspects of the movie’s plot and dialogue and the information I held. The Post cites consequences of an American defeat as seventy percent of the reason for non-withdrawal of US forces from Vietnam. This idea was one I was able to better comprehend when, in my mind, I supported it with a notion of the strong opposition between the USA and the USSR during the latter half of the 1900s, when an American surrender in Vietnam would be viewed as a crippling sign of weakness.
The Post is of monumental historical relevance as a principal outcome of the work carried out by the Washington Post and the New York Times was a peace movement that swept across the United States, one which was presented in snippets in the film. The revelation of the truth regarding Vietnam, therefore, propelled public opinion away from aggression, allowing for the thaw in Soviet-American relations that takes place in the years that follow.
The feminist tone of The Post is embodied by Meryl Streep’s Katharine Graham who serves as an image of the position of women but who also, as the plot progresses, transforms into an increasingly stronger role model. Streep masterfully carries the resilience and also the timidity of her vital character. She aptly displays the severe pressure placed on women, especially the few who held positions of power in the midst of a disdainful and largely unsupportive all-male corporate environment. The stereotypical expectations of women is seen in the repeated notion of her possessing her husband’s job and in a dinner scene, wherein the wives retreat to another room to discuss far more frivolous topics while their husbands speak of politics. Katharine Graham, however, defies expectations when she green-lights the publishing of the papers, displaying just how indispensable her role was.
Focusing on the actions of a daily newspaper necessitates a fast pace that is reflected in the videography, music and quite simply, in the movement of the characters. The sense of tension created in the beginning with a brief snapshot of the Vietnam War is wonderfully sustained throughout, but later derives from the time-bound nature of journalism and the competition between media organizations. This is best encapsulated once the Washington Post procures the documents and wishes to publish in the frantic scenes that take place in Ben Bradlee’s house.
The message of freedom of speech and the limitations placed on it by governments, remain particularly important in today’s world, where the media is increasingly cornered by administrations across the globe (most notably extreme right-wing ones such as Trump’s).
In conclusion, The Post deals with themes that remain crucial or may have even experienced revitalized importance five decades later. It wonderfully weaves an important story, but – and this may be my sole criticism – neglects to deal with the whole fallout of the Pentagon Papers. The ending nonetheless is interesting, hinting at the Watergate scandal that would serve a death blow to Nixon’s presidency (one already tainted by the movie’s events).
There is Magic in the Air in Std. 02!
Students of Std. 02 celebrated the birthday of Shri. P.C. Sorcar Jr., the great Indian magician. They dedicated ‘The Great Coin Trick’ that they learnt by following instructions from the Oxford International English Anthology to the great magician. The objectives behind the activity were to identify the features of instruction texts and to follow step-by-step instructions.
The teacher first demonstrated the trick using the materials listed, after which, the students performed the same. Students recorded their peers’ performance using iPads. They also went over the recordings to make any necessary changes. This activity gave ample opportunity for students to work as a team and explore the world of magic.
In continuation of the celebration of the month of magic, students of Stds. 06 and 04 performed magic tricks for Stds. 01 and 02. The little ones were thrilled to see their schoolmates perform tricks with great expertise. It was amazing to see their awestruck faces as they watched the show!
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Visit to the Post Office, Bangalore
As part of the EVS unit ‘All about Me’, the students of Std. 02 visited the Post Office near BDA Complex, Yelahanka, on 11th of July 2018.
At the post office, Mr. Shankar, the postmaster, spoke to the students about the different types of letters, envelopes and stamps that can be used for sending messages. He showed them a sample of each and encouraged them to share their ideas and opinions on using them.
After that, the students lined up in front of the post box and dropped their picture post cards into the box. The picture post cards written by the students were an invite to their parents for the Elementary School Open Day. The students had learnt their postal addresses during the unit ‘All about Me’ and hence they were encouraged to write their complete postal address in order to post letters.
This visit gave the students not just a chance to see a variety of letters and envelopes, but also a practical experience of visiting a post office and posting letters. Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience.
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Std. 02’s Visit to Nilgiris and JMJ Sneha Sadan
In connection with Math and PSE topics – Money and Making Smart Choices, respectively the students of Std. 02 visited a nearby shopping store – Nilgiris and an orphanage – JMJ Sneha Sadan on 20th December 2017, along with five teachers. This field trip was also to encourage the spirit of sharing since we were in the month of Christmas.
Their trip began at 8:15 a.m. as they left school in the school bus. Having arrived at the first destination, Nilgiris, by 8:45 a.m., the children were taken to different sections of the store to be able to shop for the things they wanted to buy. They were asked to choose the items wisely as their budget was Rs. 30 for this activity. They then waited for their turn to get the bills for the items purchased.
From the shopping store we proceeded to JMJ Sneha Sadan where we were welcomed by the students and teachers there. After a quick introduction the students and teachers of Sneha Sadan took us around the place. The children had prepared a song to welcome MAIS students and teachers and also gifted us colourful papers flowers as a token of appreciation. We too took the opportunity to share a few gifts with them, which included the items the students purchased from Nilgiris.
After that, the students had their snack and left around 10:30 a.m. for school. The students returned by 11:00 a.m. and took a quick break. Then they calculated their expenses and how much money was left with them at the end of the activity. They were asked to refer to the bills for the same.
This visit not just gave them a practical understanding of handling money but also making smart choices in their everyday lives. Students understood the importance of keeping up the spirit of sharing with those in need.
Overall, it was a wonderful learning and humble experience.
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A Talk with the Dog Father of India – Mr. Rakesh Shukla
On Friday, 17th November 2017, students of Std. 02, 03 and 04 met and interacted with Mr. Rakesh Shukla, the founder of VOSD (Voice Of Stray Dogs). This was a part of the Social Studies unit, ‘Citizenship and Governance’. The objective of the interaction was to introduce a real life hero of current times to the students. Mr. Rakesh Shukla is a Bangalore based software engineer, motivational speaker and a great lover of dogs. His love for abandoned dogs has popularly gained him the name, The Dog Father of India. He currently looks after over 750 rescued stray and abandoned dogs in his 5 acre farm in Doddaballapur Town.
The interactive session started at 10:15 a.m. with a brief introduction of Mr. Shukla and his rescue work. The students were then given an opportunity to ask questions about his work and his contribution to society. Students were thrilled to have Mr. Shukla answer all the questions patiently in detail. The students learnt how to empathise with stray and abandoned dogs. A lot of information on how to take care of the dogs was shared by him. Although the session was scheduled to end by 11.30 a.m., the students were inquisitive to ask more questions and gain knowledge on dog care. Overall, it was a very moving and eye-opening session for each one present in the room.
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Std. 02’s Visit to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium
The students of Std. 02 visited the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium on 14th December 2017, along with five teachers, in connection with their study on the solar system – an SOS topic.
In the planetarium, they observed different types of telescopes and 3D info-graphics of different planets. The show started at 12:30 p.m. and lasted for 45 minutes.
This visit gave the students a chance to learn of the beautiful solar system and it also helped them revise their learning about different planets and their characteristics. The experience was truly magical!
Towards the end, the students spent some time in the science park and enjoyed themselves.
Overall, it was a wonderful learning experience.
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As part of the Social Studies unit, Std.04 went for the Nandi Valley Walks. The walk was led by Mr. Siddharth Raja (who is a parent of a St. 04 student). The trail started at the Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple which is over 1,000 years old. We explored the rich heritage of the place and then moved on to the British Cemetery. This once abandoned cemetery has graves of wives, children and soldiers of the British army. We then proceeded to Nandi Halt, a 100 year old train station which gives an insight into the presence of industry in pre-independence India.
Students then climbed up the Devanahalli Fort, which was built in the beginning of the 16th century. Later, the fort passed into the hands of Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan and subsequently the British.
We also passed by the birthplace of Tipu Sultan, which is located near to the fort.
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Trip to Jain Temple and Marble Shops
In connection to the Science topic – Rocks and Soils, Std. 02 along with 5 teachers had the opportunity to visit the Jain Temple in Devanahalli on 16th October, 2017. The trip was organised to reiterate their learning about different types of rocks and their uses. On the way to the temple, the students saw a quarry and discussed how huge rocks are broken down into smaller ones and then used for construction purposes. We then stopped for a while outside the fort of Tipu Sultan to see the marvellous use of limestone, bricks and granite. We reached the temple around 9:30 a.m. and the students had their snack in the bus. They were surprised to see the use of marble, granite and sandstone in the temple. After exploring the different rocks used in different parts of the temple, the students relaxed for a while and we left around 11:00 a.m. for the marble and granite shops on Devanahalli Road. The students got a chance to see the different things that could be made out of different types of rocks. They were delighted to touch and feel the different textures of the rocks. Around 11:40 a.m. the students boarded the school bus along with the teachers and returned to school by lunch time. This experience gave the students a direct understanding of how rocks are used in our everyday lives.
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Std 01 visits a farm
On Wednesday, 6th September, 2017, students of Std.01-R/V visited a local farm in Yelahanka with their teachers. This field trip was connected to the ongoing unit in Science on plants.
Students observed various kinds of plants like trees, shrubs, herbs, creepers and climbers. They identified examples of each type of plant and saw its fruits and flowers. They were very excited to see fresh corn being “harvested” for them, and were even more thrilled to eat it soon after, as boiled corn on the cob! Similarly, they saw groundnut plants being harvested and learnt to shell the nuts. They even ventured to feed the leaves of the corn and groundnut plants to a buffalo!
Students also observed the farm animals – buffalo, some geese, rabbits, hens and chickens. We returned to school enriched by the experience.
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Std 03 Visits Puttanahalli Lake
The students of Std. 03 went on a field trip to Puttanahalli Lake in Yelahanka on 7th June 2017. This trip was in connection with the science unit on ‘Habitats. The students were excited to see the vegetation around the lake. The class was divided into groups, each accompanied by a teacher. Each student carried along a notebook and a pencil. They jotted down points and made sketches of what they observed. Teachers walked along with their groups as the students eagerly began spotting insects, birds and other creatures in and around the lake. The students spotted a variety of birds like purple moor hens, egrets, night herons and ducks. The highlight of the trip was the fight between a parakeet and a mynah which the students watched with wonder. The lake was covered with weeds and bulrushes. The group returned to school after an hour. The trip culminated with a class discussion about their experience.
Std 03 explores Mesopotamia
In the unit ‘Ancient Mesopotamian Civilisation’, students studied about the various inventions, architecture and art during the Mesopotamian time and its influence in today’s modern world.
Cuneiform or the art of writing was a major breakthrough during the Mesopotamian time. Students got a hands-on experience of working with clay as they wrote their names in Cuneiform on clay tablets. They also created clay pots to get a feel of the ancient lifestyle.
Dressing up amuses all and there was no better way to end up the unit than by dressing up the Mesopotamian style. It was indeed a pleasure to see the children dressed up as mighty noblemen, farmers, kings and lovely queens. They draped dresses made out of simple fabric and adorned themselves with some handmade jewellery.
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Std. 03 Goes Shopping!
Students were learning about money in Math. They were initially introduced to real currency notes and coins of various denominations to help them identify. Later they played money games using fake currency notes where they learnt to count and make change. To take this learning to the next level, the class was taken to a departmental store in the neighbourhood. Each child was asked to carry Rs. 50.00 in a wallet and also a cloth bag. Teachers escorted them through the store as they scrutinized price tags and made mental calculations before they dropped the item into their carts. They were thrilled to be able to handle money on their own. As teachers, it was heart-warming to watch each one prioritise his/her need, pick up small treats for a family member and remember to check the change with the bill in hand. This was truly a great learning experience.
While they all took home their purchases in their little shopping bags, teachers retained the receipts. A display board was done with each student composing a word problem from his/her shopping experience. The price of each item bought, the total and the change calculated were displayed. The used wrappers and little illustrations added colour to the display. The receipt was also attached, which enhanced the value of their work.
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Std. 05 discovers microbes
Std. 05 has been learning about microbes in Science. They have learnt the distinctions amongst viruses, bacteria and fungi, as well as useful and harmful microbes. As part of a class experiment, students brought in foodstuffs (like rice, bread, pasta) and allowed them to grow fungi. Then, they extracted the fungi and made slides with them and observed them under the microscope in the senior school laboratory. The students thoroughly enjoyed the experience of working in a fully-equipped laboratory, making slides and looking at things through a microscope.
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Std. 04 goes to Hampi!
DOD is an important part of our school curriculum, where the students are taken out of their comfort zone to become aware of the larger world around them. In the process, they learn and imbibe skills and values, which are necessary to develop into well-rounded individuals.
This year Std. 04 went to Hampi, the once capital of the glorious Vijayanagara empire.
Students had a unique opportunity to experience the Indian sloth bear in their natural habitat at Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary amidst the boulder-strewn landscape.
Students got their hands dirty in the mock-excavation activity which offered them an amazing insight into the world of archaeology. Students had a fun-filled bumpy ride on bullock carts to explore village settlements and ancient cave paintings. They also visited the Annegundi banana fibre cottage industry.
Our tour covered Hemakuta Hill group of monuments, monolithic Ganeshas, Virupaksha Temple and Bazaar, Vittala Temple ruins, Mahanavami Dibba and Queens’ Bath.
Std. 05 Visits Kabini
Std. 05 went to Kabini for their DoD trip from the 6th to the 9th of February, 2017. Students learnt about the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve and the role of the Forest Department in the conservation of wildlife species in the Reserve. We interacted with experienced naturalists, who patiently answered our questions.
While at Kabini, we were immersed in the beauty around us, the browns and greens of the forest and the blue of the Kabini River. The stillness of the forest early in the morning was only interspersed by the sweet sounds of birdcall. At times, the peace was broken by the frantic alarm calls of the monkeys and deer. We were truly lucky on our safaris to sight numerous animals such as leopards, tigers, deer, crocodiles, elephants, gaur, peafowl, mongoose, and even the elusive dhole. The wisdom and experience of our safari guides and team of naturalists were blessings on this trip. The highlight of our visit was tracking a leopard through the undergrowth for nearly three-quarters of an hour, as it stalked a small herd of deer.
After we came back to Bangalore, students worked on and published their research, learning and experiences of DoD in a newsletter.
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Poetry Workshop with Athena Kashyap
On the 27th of January, Std. 05 spent about half a day in a poetry workshop with class parent and published poet, Athena Kashyap. The theme of the workshop was ‘Autobiography’ and students were encouraged to write free verse. They were asked to focus on creating images and identifying colours and sounds which they could associate with themselves and their emotions. Students also began to think about how they knew themselves to be different from others’ ideas of them. The workshop ended with a class ‘sestina’ being composed by groups of students. It was an energising and inspiring day for everyone involved.
Std. 01 visits Banerghatta
The study on ‘Animals’ in Std. 01 began with the students drawing and painting animals found in different continents. This was linked to the previous unit on ‘People, Places and Environment’. Students then went on a field trip to the Bannerghatta Biological Park. On the safari, they excitedly observed the herbivores and the carnivores! The sloth bear taking a nap in the middle of the road was an intriguing sight. The Butterfly Park was a delight to the students. They were amazed to see the different kinds of butterflies fluttering by. Each tried to out-do the other with the number of different kinds they could locate. The response of the students at the end of the trip said it all, “It was the best field trip ever!”.
Std. 03 Explores the History of Bengaluru
Students of Std. 03 studied the history of Bengaluru in Social Studies. They began with the timeline, when the Deccan was ruled by the Cholas, the Hoysalas, the Vijayanagar kings, the Sultanate of Bijapur, the Marathas, the Mughals, the Wodeyar Dynasty and the British. The story of how King Veeraballala gave the name ‘bende kaalu ooru’ to the city that later came to be known as Bengaluru was narrated. They also learned about the Yelahanka Nadu Prabhus and their illustrious chieftain, Kempe Gowda, who founded a meticulously planned city in 1537. Maps, old and new, were compared. Through books, websites and innumerable discussions, the story of Bengaluru slowly unfolded before their eyes.
To bring matters from the abstract to the concrete, the class was taken on various field trips – to see the watch towers that Kempe Gowda built, Ulsoor Lake, Lal Bagh, the Vidhana Soudha and the Vikasa Soudha, Cubbon Park, St. Andrews Church, the Someshwara Temple and the oldest Gurudwara. The several drives through the city helped the students to identify prominent landmarks, the different styles of architecture, the buildings built by the British, the Cantonment area and important roads. At the same time, it also opened their eyes to the crowds of people, the pollution in the air, the roads choked with traffic and the litter strewn around. This lent itself to a class discussion on the problems faced by the city today. For this, the class was divided into four groups; each had to do some homework and come prepared to make a presentation. The mature way in which they analysed the problems, and the seriousness with which they tackled questions and made suggestions to better the city, were heart-warming.
To enrich their learning further, they were exposed to the Kannada language by a teacher. They were thrilled to learn to speak some simple words and sentences. They listened to stories of traditions and customs and also how the cosmopolitan city of today is a melting pot of cultures. Throughout the unit, students learned many new words that were used to construct a word-wall as the lesson progressed. A topic-related display board was set aside to encourage the students to bring in newspaper cuttings. The class was much inspired by the many hues of blooms along the avenues as they drove through the city. This led to some spectacular expressions on paper using oil pastels. Towards the end of their learning, a Bengaluru Quiz was organized for the class. The questions were based on all that the class had learnt about the city. To culminate this entire learning experience, a potluck lunch (yele oota) was organized, courtesy the class parents. A typical Bengaluru lunch, with salad, sweet, rice and vegetables was served on a banana leaf. Students had a wholesome meal and it was indeed the best way to conclude this unit on Bengaluru.
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