Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

The Science of Creativity!

Dr. Seuss, the famous children’s author said in one of his books – “Think left and think right, think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up, if only you try!”

Trying is definitely something that RDF children do a lot of! Coming from lives filled with difficulties and financial deprivation, RDF schools open up a rich learning ground in which they soak up everything they are exposed to – and the exposure is carefully curated by caring teachers who want the very best for these children.

Science and its wonderful world of experiments gets everyone excited! Students at Rollakal School have been blossoming under the guidance of their Science teachers. The teachers who come from similar background as the children understand the importance of quality and creative learning. They too are sent for several training programs in order to enhance teaching methods. This then allows them to think about creative ways of teaching. 

Science experiments have been a great way to understand Science concepts that would be too complex to understand theoretically. RDF has gone through a lot of effort to equip each school with a Science lab in order to expose children to learning visually and experientially.

The most recent experiments that the Rollakal children have been exploring are photosynthesis, understanding the root system, learning about the mechanism and biology of human breathing etc. Though the Science lab is equipped with a lot of material to aid conceptual understanding, the staff also ensures that students use recycled materials in order for the experiments to be as green and cost effective as possible!

We are very proud of the efforts of our staff to ensure that children learn in a fun environment. We are also proud of the children who keep their scientific enquiry alive through enthusiastically engaging with their own learning!

Nurturing Creative Intent

Nurturing creativity, thinking and analytical skills is far more important than memorizing texts and writing examinations. While clearing examinations are necessary to get the requisite degree, it is ultimately skills such as creative thinking, analytical reasoning, exploring interests and seeing them through with perseverance that actually help in career and life.

Raju, showing his JCB model to trainers from Andhra Mahila Sabha

Raju, a Class 10 student in RDF Redlawada School, was inspired to construct a JCB after seeing one lumbering down the road in his native village of Redlawada. He was also intent on making a working model and not just a toy. Since growing up in RDF, from LKG onwards, he was always exposed to the importance of conservation and recycling. Therefore, he also decided to recycle waste materials to create his JCB.

With prior experience in activity based learning methods which nurture curious minds, it is not surprising why Raju was so keen to see his experiment to fruition. With the encouragement of his Science teacher, he procured materials such as syringes an pipes to assemble his model JCB. Once he put it together, he displayed it to his classmates, including its workings. It is amazing how creating working models of everyday vehicles bring to light so many scientific principles that make learning so easy. Raju proved to be a very able teacher to his peers by demonstrating how a JCB works!

Raju has always loved the atmosphere in his school, even when it was running in a small rented premises till 4 years ago. The atmosphere of invention, encouragement and creativity make him and other students interested in learning and their lessons. RDF teachers have been trained to pay attention to students’ innate talent and abilities, which support their growth and development.

Well done Raju & the teachers of Redlawada School for polishing a diamond like him & our RDF students! This is true value of Educating, Engaging and Empowering!

 

A Tale of Two Dramas

Today we bring a story (or two) from RDF Kalleda School on how a Drama can be used in 2 different ways to achieve different, yet meaningful outcomes.

To begin with, learning English in rural areas is very challenging. Students and teachers have very limited exposure to the language. Their struggle to learn the language to the extent that they can communicate in it well is very real. The children and teachers receive a lot of training from our education partners and dedicated volunteers to learn to speak in English and gain confidence in using the language.

The setting for the English play

Performing a drama is an effective tool to speak in any language, with its emphasis on intonation, pronunciation and facial expression. It can also make a challenge a lot of fun. Students of Class 10decided to pick a story from the Class 10 syllabus titled ‘Dear Departed’. The adaptation of the story into a play, the writing of dialogues, practicing it and then performing it in front of an audience was done entirely by students, with the able help of their English teachers.  The audience appreciated the confidence with which students spoke their dialogues and were able to put across the message of the original story and the play successfully. This highlights the willingness of the children to take ownership of their own learning, their creative thinking skills in creating a play from a textbook story, their writing skills in creating dialogues for delivery as well as good speaking skills! That was a lot of hard work put in by the children and they felt very satisfied with their effort.

The Telugu play in progress

The young children of Class 5 decided to use the medium of drama to bring across a social and environmental message about the detrimental effects of using plastic. Their play was done in Telugu and was performed on National Science Day celebrations in the school. The play made spectators aware of how plastic continues to be used everyday by most people, how it is not disposed properly, that it creates landfill which is slowly choking our planet. They made the audience aware of alternatives such as paper and cloth bags and ways in which we can say no to plastic. The kids and the audience both learned an very serious and important ecological problem and they got to exhibit their acting and performance abilities too!

We encourage the use of drama to create many relevant and fun activities for children. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the process and the final outcome!

No Limits for Knowledge

RDF schools continually strive, every single day, to put its vision of creating a nurturing, high quality learning environment through all its programs. How many us remember being intimidated by Science concepts in school, because merely reading about them in theory and rote memorizing them scarcely produced any real understanding of the concept or its application in real life.

RDF schools encourage their students to spend time researching Science concepts, create experiments and allowing their natural creativity to come through.

3 students from Class 9 in Matendla School, Nagaraju M, M. Nagaraju and Balanarsu decided to prepare an exhibit for National Science Day celebrations in school. They took some waste materials and shaped it like a boat. They attach a small dynamo, taken from a children’s toy car and connected it to a small battery. This allowed the boat to move in water. They then fixed a small switch to enable the boat to move forward and backward. Such experiences help students learn better through kinesthetic learning medium.

The students, like all RDF students, come from poor agricultural families. Going to school and learning well is what can equip them with the ability to go on create a career and better lives for themselves. All of them feel that they learn a lot in school and that it is enjoyable to learn this way. We all know, when we enjoy the learning process, we retain the learning. This is exactly what we aim for.

Prior to starting the experiment, the 3 students didn’t know how to go about making the boat. With the support of their teacher, researching the concept of dynamo, electric current and floatation through the internet and library books, they experimented and created a successful working model of a boat. Rather than struggle to memorise the concept, it is much better to struggle while experimenting, since the learning and the concept become clear. There is truly no time for learning – any time is a good time and there are no limits for knowledge!

We thank our teachers in Matendla for helping Nagaraju, Balnarsu and Nagaraj with this project.

Inspired to Innovate

Ishupriya, all of 7 years old, joined Redlawada School this year. Hailing from a poor agricultural family, her family would like a better future for young Ishupriya. A bright girl, Ishupriya loves coming to school and is interested in all subjects.

During project work with one of the teachers, D. Mamatha, the teacher encouraged Ishupriya of think of something she can make using everyday materials found at home. The teacher got her thinking about her life, her parent’s work and soon, she came up with the idea of making a small bullock cart with corn sticks. The teachers asked her not to use metal as a support ingredient for her bullock cart project. Ishupriya asked her father to get corn sticks from his farm. The teacher helped a little with the design and assembly, but overall, it was the young and eager student’s creation through and through!

The purpose of the project and bringing this story to our readers’ attention is that children are innately curious. However their thinking and creative capacities can get dulled with regular school work. The school and its teachers need to be responsible towards creating an active learning environment, in which students can thrive. When a teachers shows sensitivity and gently encourages, rather than berating, a child will blossom.

Mamatha teacher did exactly that for Ishupriya. She helped her tap into her own thinking and creative abilities, which produced this wonderful piece of craft!

 

The He’art’ of Learning

The Tech Mahindra Foundation sponsored Mandal Parishal Primary School, in partnership with RDF bring to you more fun, interesting and creative experiments from their school.

A student displaying her peacock made with recycled & waste materials

Experiential learning or ‘learning by doing’ is the best way to help children understand any subject or theme. The teachers decided to explore the theme of ‘Art’ with the students using discarded and waste materials. It started with reflection and discussion of how humans produce waste and how it degrades the environment. This led to the idea behind using waste material like papers, packaging boxes, discarded bottles, plastic etc for recycling. The teachers asked them to think about how these materials can be recycled and use their imagination and creativity to produce art from waste. That got them excited!

A lovely butterfly made from waste materials

During their discussion, the children got ideas to make toys. This is the beauty of encouraging children to reflect on their lives and ways of living and organically come up with ways in which such materials could be useful to them. Children and toys – the idea was perfect!

They made a peacock using scrap paper, designing them into the letters of the alphabet and joining them to get the body of the peacock. Then old plastic spoons were used to form the feathers. A beautiful and colourful butterfly was also fashioned in a similar way. Very soon, ideas were flowing about using old cardboard boxes, plastic bottles etc. Not only the teachers, but the kids too were thrilled with themselves, appreciating each others’ ideas and creativity to create wonderful items of art!

Future Artists and Upcoming Designers!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge” ~ Albert Einstein

fiture-artists-1Creative expression finds its canvas in various forms – drawing pictures from a young age and learning traditional art forms like ‘rangoli’. The teachers at RDF Matendla School have been encouraging its young artist students and designers to let their imagination fly and create wonderful works of art!future-artists

upcoming-designers-1It’s no wonder then, that in such an encouraging environment, students are showing a lot of interest in drawing! The art that has been created by students of various ages has been very inspirational. Some students have even participated in District and State level art competitions. All the works of art are displayed proudly on the school bulletin boards and the young artists are commended in the school’s morning assembly too.

We are very proud of the efforts of all the teachers to help students explore their interest in various art forms and the students for their creative zeal and imagination!