Tinkerers Today Become Scientists Tomorrow
Fun with science comes to students in rural India via Mobile Labs
September 24, 2018
“Surface tension!” called out 12-year-old Archana Hegde of Government Adarsha School in Mysore, India, who answered her own question on why water bubbles are always round, despite being blown from non-circular shapes.
Archana was presenting her science experiment to Honeywell executives, government dignitaries, teachers, peers and guests at the Honeywell Science Experience. The program, sponsored by Honeywell Hometown Solutions India Foundation (HHSIF) in partnership with Agastya International Foundation, gives underprivileged rural youth the opportunity to use their curiosity and problem-solving skills to tackle science, technology, engineering and math challenges.
Archana, second from left, and her colleagues cheer on their science projects.
The core of the program uses “mobile labs” on buses or motorbikes loaded with science models, ordinary materials and low-cost experiments that travel across rural areas of India to under-resourced schools. On average, a single mobile lab reaches 3,000 students a month, giving students an opportunity to tinker and learn at no cost to them or the schools.
“Our goal is to get children to go from a passive to an active interest in STEM by combining art and creativity with critical thinking and problem solving,” said Ramji Raghavan, founder and Chairman, Agastya. “Rural children have never experienced this approach before.”
The Mobile Lab reaches 3,000 students per month
“We need more programs like the Honeywell Science Experience in our vulnerable communities,” said Robert G. Burgess, U.S. Consul General in Chennai, who attended the program in July.
For Archana Hegde, her vision of the future is clear: “I love physics, and someday I want to be part of a planet-finding mission!”