Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Zenith, with Science

If you love me, give me wings. Don't be afraid if I fly” students of Atmiya Vidya Mandir are one with this feeling paradoxically it’s all about aeronautics and aerospace.

There is a power in hands-on learning and Atmiya Vidya Mandir has adopted the same approach to not only equip the students with knowledge but also prepare them to apply it in real life situations. A group of self-motivated students of the Department of Aerospace Engineering (UDAAN) at IIT-Mumbai were invited in the school to conduct a workshop cum interactive session on various aspects of Aerospace engineering. UDAAN is an outreach programme run by the IIT to inspire children.

Now students of Atmiya Vidya Mandir will no more find wind blowing things like kites and flags unfathomable, as they were exposed to a comprehensive practical approach to understand this theory. How is it possible that heavy airplanes are supported by air high above the ground? Students of Atmiya Vidya Mandir can answer this question as they were guided and edified on various skills and theories of aeronautics by a team of enthusiastic IITians and senior students of B. Tech. Aerospace engineering named Naresh Ponnana, Viren Timble, Rajat Chakraborty, Asger Ali and Anand Pratap.

These aerospace engineers brought science to students in the form of adventure and thrill that acquainted them with the concept of aeronautics. From Std VII, IX and X near around fifty students were chosen randomly to participate in the workshop. It started at 10:30 am on 8th August - Sunday and lasted till 9:30 pm.

The day began with watching a video show of breath taking stunts of fighter planes, heart stopping moments of air crash. Students were fortunate enough to get acquainted with experiences of Sunita Williams’ in space through this video which arrested their imagination. Then followed a highly interactive session on the physics of aeromodelling. The session continued with the paper plane model making workshop after which there was a lengthy discussion on career guidance with the 10th and 11th standard students for almost an hour and a half . Students were benefited as they shared their personal experiences as IIT aspirants and being an IITian. They gave some really insightful tips about preparing for the IIT-JEE (Indian Institute of Technology - Joint Entrance Exam).

After the lunch break, one batch of students participated in the Balsa wood Glider making workshop. Students' creativity was at optimum and they were captivated while making miniature aircrafts with their instructions and watching them fly with an understanding of the whole process.

Meanwhile, the other batch of students got hands-on experience on the flight simulator the same software used by pilots for training purposes.

A small break for snacks followed after which the UDAAN team demonstrated water rocketry explaining the students how a rocket can be flown using water as fuel!!! It was quite an exciting time witnessing a water rocket. The two batches of students then exchanged their places and each ended up having an intriguing insight into the world of flying by the end of the day.

They conducted a Quiz on aerospace related concepts and facts after the workshop and gave away prizes to the winners of the quiz. The day concluded with a presentation on career options in Aerospace Engineering.

Some reactions of the students at the end of the workshop:
  • "Sir, this was the best day of my life!"
  • "We didn't know IIT was such a huge place and offered so many opportunities to grow in every aspect."
  • "They have a very friendly attitude. Generally, we don't like workshop, but they conducted it in such a manner that we really enjoyed it."

Some reactions from teachers:
  • "The interaction between the team and the students was the best part as that certainly will go a long way in inspiring them to work hard to achieve their goals in life."
  • "Sharing your experience regarding preparation for IIT-JEE and also about life at IIT was really inspiring."
  • "You could sense the 'never say die' spirit in all the members as they didn't seem tired at all even after such a long, involving day. They were extremely clear in their heads about what they wanted to achieve."

Through this workshop they inspired a new generation of future global scientists (Students of Atmiya Vidya Mandir) who can now be seen in the school campus flying a handmade aircraft, living with the concept of going against the forces which pulls you down, defying the gravity and touch the sky.

Written by: Seema Madam

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