Varanasi, January 19: With the "Science on Wheels" programme, children in rural Uttar Pradesh would now have the opportunity to imbibe the concepts of gravity and eclipses outside the conventional class room set-up.
The Bangalore-based, non-profit educational trust Agastya Foundation Friday launched "Science on Wheels", a van that seeks to promote scientific and critical temperament among chidlren in rural areas by way of easy-to-understand projects demonstrated on the facility.
Beginning its journey from the Indian Institute of Technology - Banaras Hindu University campus, the van launched Jan 16 would tread a distance of 40-50 kms on a daily basis to cover one school each day over a period of one year.
About 80 such schools have been identified by the Deshpande Foundation that organised the facility in collaboration with the Ek Soch Foundation, a social initiative of the Delhi-based Spice Mobility Limited.
"It's a hands-on way of learning science; otherwise we teach science as history," said CEO Naveen Jha of Deshpande Foundation, which seeks to promote entrepreneurship as a catalyst for sustainable change.
"We take it (the van) to every village, teaching them (children) how you go from yes to why and ask questions like what is the centre of gravity, and spark their curiosity," he added.
The van was an instant hit among local school girls who attended its launch. "I learnt a lot of new scientific concepts today. It was very engaging. I really liked it," said eighth grader Chandini Bano of Sri Ambika Prasad Singh Bhaironath Inter College.
Vinita Sethi of Ek Soch Foundation said the van was like a library of scientific models and projects. "It's learning science by doing, kids will rotate the earth (model) and understand the concept of a (lunar or a solar) eclipse," she added. Two science instructors would also be present on the van and the service could be availed of free of cost, Sethi said.