Archive for the ‘Learning Activities’ Category

The Games Children Play!

Given a chance, everyone would play, not just children, but adults too! But to children, play comes naturally and encouraging this natural instinct is something we wanted to do for all RDF children. Therefore, creating playgrounds and encouraging indoor and outdoor games and sports is something we take seriously, pun not intended!

Unfortunately, we see a lot of stress being created in schools where play time is seen as a waste of time. Even in rural areas, we see children spend more time playing games on their phones, than play outdoors. But RDF kids get plenty of opportunities to play as we know that classroom based education, while an important part of the curriculum, is not sufficient to create healthy and happy individuals.

Children come in before school to play badminton, football, volleyball and cricket and do the same after school too. They voluntarily choose to spend their leisure time at play, either outside or indoors. Games build crucial physical and mental fitness. Instead of being indoors, cooped up for long hours, our children get plenty of break time, stretch their muscles and flex their mental muscles too! They say it’s one reason why they love coming to school so much. Many times, teachers join in on the fun too!

In the photos, children of Redlawada School are seen having a great time on the swings that were recently placed in the playgrounds. We love the sound of laughter or the sight of focused silence as children ponder their carom or chess boards! Seeing such vitality makes us feel good about the work we do! Happy kids, happy teachers, happy us!!

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More than a breath of fresh air!

Summer is in full swing and the heat gets to everyone – young and old. Areas where RDF schools are located are some of the hottest in Telangana. Air conditioning is simply not an option for people living in rural areas, but everyone has an intense desire to have access to cooling.

Students, assembling the materials & taking stock

However, Lady Luck was on our side! Synchrony Financial, a multinational organisation that has been supporting RDF in areas such as English development, Computer skills enhancement, soft skills and job skills training, on site in Kalleda School as well in their Hyderabad Head Office decided to recruit students of Classes 8 & 9 from Kalleda School to develop a clever cooling system that does not need electricity! The icing on the cake was that this cooler can be built from common waste materials such as empty plastic cold drink bottles – talk about being environmentally friendly and recycling plastic!

Hard at work, assembling the Eco Coolers

In just 3 months, Synchrony Financial and the Kalleda School students prepared smart, powerless air conditioners called ‘Eco Coolers’. The  method to make an Eco Cooler is fairly simple.  A board is cut to fit the desired window size and bottle neck sized holes are cut out in a grid pattern on the body of the plastic bottle. The neck of the plastic bottle is cut off and discarded, leaving funnel shaped bottle necks that are placed on the grid.  The Eco Cooler is fit into the window. When mounted, the wider port of the bottle faces outward and catches the passing wind, literally funnelling cool air into the house. It has the ability to bring the temperature down by as much as 5 degrees celcius!

..And they’re ready!

This was an electrifying project (pun unintended) for our students who were able to enhance their thinking and creative capacities and learnt how to make an innovative system, perfect for summer and taking into consideration the financial constraints of rural communities. In addition, it was an excellent enterprise in recycling waste materials and doing something positive for their community and the country too. This was such an enriching experience for everyone involved! While initially, students had to spend some time collecting the bottles and understanding how to make them, they slowly picked up and were able to make several of them!

We are so blessed that Synchrony Financial gave our students the opportunity to create a locally produced system and providing them with the necessary skills that empowered them to do something so productive for themselves and rural people. We are very grateful to the team at Synchrony Financial and so proud of our students’ new skills in innovation and social responsibility!

Soaring Creativity!

Hard at work on the fountain

The MPC and BPC 2nd Year students from the RDF VAPV Junior College showed their prowess at Science and their inventiveness by making a functional water fountain. This working model of a water fountain was made entirely from recycled and waste material which the students found in the college store room and in their homes. The icing on the cake is that this model only cost an affordable Rs. 950 to make!

Nagaraju, working on the fountain

G. Nagaraju, studying in BPC 2nd Year took the initiative to start this project. In his own words –“I took inspiration from APJ Abdul Kalam. I remember reading that while he was studying, his teacher was explaining the flight of a seagull over the sea and fascinated by that, he decided to become a pilot. I took inspiration from his life when I thought of preparing a water fountain. I got together with my friends and told them about my idea. Then we took suggestions from our Physics lecturer and finished the project within 6 days!”

“This is the best project that I have done in college and we decided to dedicate this water fountain to our batch (2016-18). I will never forget my college days. My time here has inspired me to become a scientist.”

The fountain, finished with a flourish!

The fountain occupies pride of place in front of the classrooms on the Junior College campus. We are so proud of the leadership and creativity of students like Nagaraju, who take ownership of their learning and also generously involve their friends. We hope his and all our students’ dreams soar, just like the seagull in Dr. Kalam’s story!

The Silver Oak Tree Nourishing RDF!

Silver Oaks, an international school in Hyderabad has been helping RDF schools in multiple ways for over a decade! This relationship has blossomed and grown stronger by leaps and bounds each year, which has hugely contributed to RDF’s work with rural, underprivileged children.

The Silver Oaks management and staff have created a sense of compassion in the students towards rural children through awareness activities and school visits. Each year, not only the management and staff, but also the students have been saving money to donate to RDF. They have initiated a unique programme called ‘Coins for Our Country’ – a fundraising drive, wherein students saved money from their pocket money for RDF’s cause. Other creative ways that have been employed are organizing bazaars, doing chores, creating art etc. This year, we received Rs. 10, 00,000 from the school! We truly feel blessed at the empathy and effort of the Silver Oaks community!

In addition, they also organize regular teacher training programmes for our teachers in order to improve their teaching skills and employ child friendly activities to build a fun and engaging classroom environment. Recently, Maths teachers from our schools visited Silver Oaks to interact with their Maths teachers. They sat in and observed their classes, interacted with the students and learnt interesting ways to teach the subject. Some RDF students also accompanied the teachers, in order to observe the school practices and meet the students.

Our teachers and students feel very motivated with this level of support and mentoring. The Maths teachers were quite excited about their visited and are already implementing the new methods they learnt for teaching and learning of Maths. In this way, we are working hard, with the constant support of our well wishers like Silver Oaks School, in order to provide our deserving students and teachers with an energetic learning environment

Inspired Student!

Raju of RDF Redlawada School is on cloud nine on receiving news that his Science project has been selected as the best project in the State level INSPIRE programme – and so are we! Coming from very simple and humble backgrounds, we completely understand the challenges faced by our children to progress academically; therefore their achievements are a testament to their grit and fighting spirit and makes us doubly proud!

A student of Class 10, Raju has been inspired by the teaching methodology and experimentation that is encouraged by his Science teacher and the supportive environment in the school which ultimately led to the creation of his prize winning project.

 The process started when Raju started thinking of greener and more economical ways to cook food at home and the production of Biogas. After a few days of experimentation and talking to his teachers, he came up with a plan. He collected some buckets of cow dung in a drum and sealed it airtight for 15 days. Then he poured water into the drum which changed the composition and created an organic substance, suitable for generating biogas. A metal pipe was attached between the drum and a stove to provide gas for cooking!

It’s heartening to see how students like Raju reflect on the real challenges of rural people and come up with innovative ways to provide solutions. While we fully support their aspirations to move to bigger cities to pursue their dreams, we are equally proud when they use their education and knowledge for the betterment of rural communities!

Well done Raju – we hope you continue to shine and grow wherever you go!

Electrifying Education!

Learning is present all around us and every person we meet has the potential to teach us something. Learning from professionals is a great way to make children understand the variety of skills that are required in everyday life.

In Matendla School, the staff came to know about Government issued electrical work that was going to be undertaken near the school. They decided it would be a great opportunity for children to observe the work and learn from professional electricians. The electricians also agreed to explain their work to the children.

The work involved earthing a transformer near the school. They explained the importance of earthing, including how the fitting will be done and the materials that are required for the connection. The students were fascinated by the work and asked plenty of questions, which the electricians patiently answered. Very importantly, they also cautioned them about the hazards about working with electricity and the safety precautions that need to be taken.

Through such real life observation and interacting with skilled people, children learnt about how electricity is supplied to transformers and homes and how to work safely. These field sessions are vital to real education, far beyond textbook education. The children really enjoyed their interaction and came away with more knowledge than when they started!

 

Scientific Creativity on Fire!

It all starts with an idea!

RDF is always encouraging its students to dive deep into a particular theme, topic or subject through interesting activities. Science is a subject that comes alive through the practical demonstration of experiments that can explain concepts easily. Our teachers also go through extensive training in order to teach their subjects better and help ignite children’s imagination.

Fine tuning with the Science teacher

Success!

This is precisely what was created in Kalleda School during a Science lesson recently. M. Yashwanth of Class 8 and M. Rajender of Class 9, with the help of their Science teacher, came up with the idea of preparing liquefied petroleum gas by mixing fire and petrol through a scientific contraption. This concept is used routinely in small and large scale industries, however our students were able to innovate and create a very low cost working model using plastic bottles, pipes, a air pump and a burner! The model was successful and was exhibited at the District Level Science exhibition. The experiment was praised by everyone and got 1st place and was selected to be shown at the State Level exhibition. While they didn’t win at the State Level, this encourage and inspiration they receive in school helps boost their confidence and also get them fired up to continue engaging in scientific experiments.

District Level triumph!

We have seen that providing children with a hands-on, learning environment really enhances their interest and curiosity in a subject, which then deepens their understanding, leading to further inventiveness. This is what we strive for – happy and creative children – letting their imagination soar!