IISER Pune
INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE EDUCATION AND RESEARCH (IISER) PUNE
where tomorrow’s science begins today
An Autonomous Institution, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India
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Science Activity Centre 

Smt. Indrani Balan Science Activity Centre, IISER Pune
About:
Experiential learning is considered to be a very effective way of learning and understanding science. To encourage its incorporation in classroom practice, Smt. Indrani Balan Science Activity Centre has been established as part of CoESME at IISER Pune. A generous donation by Balan Group, Pune has also contributed to the setting up of the centre. 
Science Activity Centre
 
The Science Activity Centre (SAC) is engaged in developing low-cost interactive science toys that can be used to teach science in an engaging and hands-on way. The objective is to strengthen teaching and learning of science & mathematics by use of these simple toys and hands-on activities. SAC also generates resource material for students and teachers, aimed at improving conceptual understanding of topics from the curriculum.
Since its inception on August 2017, SAC has organised workshops, demonstrations, hands-on sessions and other outreach activities for students, teachers and general public.
 
Workshops for Teachers: 
To motivate teachers to teach science in fun and interactive ways is the primary focus of SAC. This will in turn improve the teaching-learning process in classrooms to benefit students. We conduct workshops ranging from one to three days for teachers at IISER Pune and other locations. A large number of experiments covering a range of scientific principles from school curricula are demonstrated with detailed explanation of scientific principles behind each. The demos as designed such that teachers can directly implement them in schools. Participating teachers also get the opportunity to design toys and conduct some activities themselves. Experiments based on electricity and magnetism, light, pressure, Newton’s laws, mechanics, forces, and those based on Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics are conducted. Some material related to the experiments is distributed to teachers for use in their classroom. We also invite scientists from various disciplines for interactions with teachers, to widen their exposure to latest discoveries and current progress in scientific fields.
Workshops for Teachers1 workshop for teachers 2
 
Demos and Workshops for Students & Visiting Groups:
We regularly conduct half-day workshops at SAC for students of various age-groups. This involves demonstration of 20-25 simple experiments which explain some basic scientific principles from their text books. Students also get to make six to eight hands-on activities on their own, such as simple motor, DC motor, centrifugal sprinkler using straw, propeller based on Newton’s third law, experiments based on magnetism and making geometric patterns using old newspapers etc. The idea of these workshops is to give students an exposure to learning science in hands-on manner and to develop a better understanding of concepts.
IISER Pune also gets many visits by groups of students from schools, colleges and organisations to understand functioning of a research institute. Many of these visits include a session at the SAC. Visitors are always fascinated by the simple experiments & toys, and enjoy learning science through activities. 
Demos for students Demos for Visiting Groups
 
Demonstrations in Schools, Colleges and other organisations: 
On invitation from schools, colleges and institutes from various parts of India, we conduct demonstrations and workshops at their campus for teachers/students. These are typically for large numbers of participants and are on similar lines as the sessions on IISER Pune campus. Several such sessions are conducted in DST-INSPIRE internship camps, which are held for bright and promising students of class XI to provide exposure and motivation about science. The sessions are meant to get students excited about learning science and fuel their curiosity.
Demos in Other schools Demos at INSPIRE Camps
 
Public Outreach: 
The SAC is engaged in outreach and science popularisation activities in various ways.
Eminent visitors: Many eminent scientists, renowned teachers, educationists, government and media officials, etc. visit SAC and are fascinated with the science toys the role that they can play in promoting science.
Eminent Visitors
Prof. Ram Takavale
 
Celebration of Special Days: The SAC holds open days and public exhibitions to mark significant days such as Science Day, Teachers’ Day, Children’s Day. Hundreds of students, teachers and members of general public visit the centre on such occasions. Many demonstrations, exhibits and other hands-on activities are organised, along with popular talks and lectures. We often involve students from city schools in these exhibitions, where they handle the stalls and explain exhibits to visitors. Visitors generally like the practical approach for understanding science and want to implement it in their schools. Such activities go a long way in generating curiosity about science and promoting scientific temper in society.
Crowd at Children's Day
Crowds at Public Exhibition
Chidren's Day
Children's Day
National Science Day
National Science Day
Teachers' Day
Teachers' Day
 
Creation of Resource Material:
The SAC generates resource material for teachers, students and science enthusiasts that explains scientific concepts through do-it-yourself (DIY) hands-on activities. These include videos, sequential photographs and small booklets that describe the process of making toys/exhibits and also explain the scientific principle behind them. Lectures and demonstrations by senior teachers are also recorded and made available to public on our YouTube channel.

 

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