Bastar gets astronomy lab, kids get chance to develop scientific temperament – Indian Masterminds

Bastar gets an astronomy laboratory, children have the chance to develop their scientific temperament

Determined to develop a scientific temperament in children and expose them to space science, the Bastar district administration of Chattisgarh has launched a state-of-the-art astronomy laboratory in an English-speaking public school. The lab has been designed in a way that students find appealing and they are beginning to take an interest in science, especially astronomy. It has become the focal point of all eyes with students and parents equally curious about celestial bodies.

The concept for this lab was inspired by 2017 IAS officer Rohit Vyas, himself an amateur astronomer, and Zila Panchayat CEO Bastar after noting that the district had huge potential for the stargazing.

Indian brains interacted with Mr. Rohit Vyas to get more details on this initiative.

IAS Officer Rohit Vyas, CEO of Zila Panchayat, Bastar

AWAKENING THE INTEREST OF CHILDREN

Funds for the lab were organized by the district administration who even trained existing teachers to operate it. The well-equipped laboratory includes space models, telescopes, working solar eclipse and lunar eclipse models, different types of telescopes for demonstration purposes, portraits of astronomy icons, sky maps , etc.

Since its opening, it has fascinated children so much that the number of school enrollments has increased. This will in turn lead to a change in the level of education in public schools and provide students with exposure to multi-disciplinary studies, and also inspire them to pursue their studies with keen interest and teach them to dream big. Mr. Vyas said, “I personally think that if kids are exposed to such topics at this stage, then as they grow up they can also explore career options in fields like astronomy and astrophysics.”

astronomy laboratory

THE ASTRONOMY LABORATORY

This one-of-a-kind initiative in the state was replicated in the village of Lohandiguda, where Swami Atmanand Government Excellence School secured the state’s first astronomy laboratory, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. The CM stated that the main objective is to develop a scientific temperament in school children and to increase their understanding of the complexity and capacity of empirical work, in addition to developing practical skills, among primary school students, upper primary, upper secondary and higher.

Mr Vyas said Indian brains“The Swami Atmanand English Medium School is a chain of English speaking schools established by the Government of Chhattisgarh on November 1, 2020. And, me and the district collector are both interested in astronomy. So, we just wanted to explore if we could give an exposure to our children on astronomy, so that later they could even pursue a career in this field.

He further pointed out that although during childhood many students wish to become astronauts, once they grow up they fall into the old pattern of doctor, engineer or government jobs. So basically the idea was to expose kids to how a scientist thinks, how the universe works, knowledge about Indian-born astronauts like Sunita Williams, Rakesh Sharma, and Kalpana Chawla, and so on. He also added that it was possible to start the lab only because of English public schools set up by the state government as model schools.

Bastar Collector Rajat Bansal, IAS, said that initially they weren’t very sure about the success of the lab. However, when the students looked at the sun, moon and stars through the telescopes, their interest grew. Not only children, but even their parents and other adult residents of the village are now interested in stargazing. With the success of this lab, the state government is now planning to establish such labs in other districts as well, he said.

Swami Atman and English Medium School

WHAT’S IN THE LABORATORY

The lab walls are adorned with infographic wallpapers giving information about planets, galaxy, moon, black hole, comet, asteroids, etc. It also has many demonstrative and functional models to study various subjects like the solar, solar and lunar system. eclipses, day and night on earth, Newton’s laws, phases of the moon, antigravity, cosmic rays, etc. through an eye-learning process.

The ceiling is designed according to an astronomical pattern, with attractive and realistic images based on demonstrations containing information on various scientific and astronomical subjects such as augmented reality, Mars Explorer Globe, annual moon phase calendar, 3D surface of the moon and Mars astronaut biopics. Similarly, posters are pasted all over the walls of this laboratory to ignite the imagination of young children.

The lab is also equipped with smart TVs and equipment such as pinhole projector, sundial, Van-de Graff model generator, microscope, Newton’s color disc, ray optics, high-end spectroscope range and many other astronomical study equipment. Needless to say, the telescopes are one of the main attractions of the lab. Many kinds of telescopes of different sizes have been provided here, including small and medium Newtonian reflector telescope, Galilean telescope and terrestrial telescope.

The laboratory also has an astronomical library where different types of books and journals are kept, such as the encyclopedia of space, galaxies and the universe, the encyclopedia of stars, planets, satellites of the solar system and its dwarf planets, etc.

FUTURE PLANS

Mr. Vyas said that currently they have developed two such labs in Anglophone public schools at block level. But, there are plans to include more schools in this initiative. “It will depend on the availability of space. Usually, in most schools, there is a shortage of places even for lessons. Thus, the school that has additional space will be chosen first. The reason for choosing English middle schools is that all astronomy-related content is mostly available in English, so it would be difficult to set up an astronomy lab in a Hindi middle school.

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