During the COVID -19 pandemic, when most of the schools were either closed or functioning online, a collaboration between the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Maharashtra and IISER Pune’s Science Activity Center (SAC) harnessed the online medium to reach students, teachers, and science enthusiasts all over the Maharashtra. SAC and Maharashtra SCERT (MSCERT) initiated online workshops during this period through the immensely popular online demonstration series in Marathi called “मैत्री करुया विज्ञान – गणिताशी” - “Let’s Make Friends with Science and Math”. Beginning October 3, 2020, the SAC team has conducted these hour-long sessions every Saturday for ten weeks. The series has received overwhelming responses from all parts of Maharashtra.
The 10th episode, hosted on Saturday, 12th December 2020, also featured opening remarks by Prof. Jayant B Udgaonkar, Director, IISER Pune, and Mr. Vikas Garad, Principal Coordinator, SCERT, Maharashtra. Prof. Udgaonkar acknowledged the tremendous positive response received by the series, and reiterated IISER Pune and SAC’s goal of making science and mathematics accessible and enjoyable for everyone. Prof. Udgaonkar also thanked SCERT for helping this series reach rural and tribal regions of the state, which would benefit greatly from such a resource. Mr. Garad emphasized the importance of such activities to develop and promote enthusiasm for science and mathematics especially in school students, as well as to help teachers engage their students effectively. He thanked the audience for their enthusiastic reception of the series while also urging them to continue being interested and motivated for learning. SCERT and IISER Pune would be adding five more episodes to this series starting January, 2021.
Each episode features 15-20 short activities related to the central theme of that episode. The workshops are designed with school curricula from 5th grade to 10th grade in mind but organized by topic. The ten workshops conducted so far have focused on: heat, magnetism, electromagnetism, light, sound, force, pressure, reactions, acids and bases, the human body, and perimeter, area, and volume. This workshop series has collected over 6.2 lakh views so far and all episodes are can be viewed on IISER Pune Science Activity Centre YouTube channel.