Friday, June 04, 2010

DSF Summer Camp - Field Trip to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium and Karnataka State Level Energy Park

Field Trip to the
Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium and Karnataka State Level Energy Park
May 13, 2010

Introduction
Sackhumvit Trust and Dream School Foundation (DSF) organized a one-day outing for high school students at Govt. PU College to the Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (JNP) and Karnataka State Level Energy Park (KSLEP) on 13th May 2010.This event was organized as part of DSF’s summer camp programme and a total of 68 students participated in the day’s activities. The objective of the field trip was for students to learn about the solar system and recent innovations and applications of renewable energy.


Jawaharlal Nehru Planetarium (JNP)
JNP was founded by the Bangalore City Corporation in 1989. Later in 1992, the administration of the planetarium was entrusted to an autonomous body, the Bangalore Association for Science Education (BASE). BASE is devoted to the dissemination of science among the public and the student community. In addition to its famous planetarium, JNP also includes a science park and centre where visitors can explore some applications of science in a natural and playful manner. Fascinating models are on display such as models of DNA, resonant swings, whispering dishes, sun dials, kaleidoscopes, and a model of the polar satellite launching vehicle.

None of DSF’s students had been to such an interactive science park where they could develop their minds while participating in their favorite pass time—playing!! Students were refreshed and inspired by their experience at JNP, thus highlighting the endless possibilities to engage youth with science through hands-on and child-centered teaching methods.

Rain Water Harvesting (RWH)
JNP also included a demonstration of RWH, which some of DSF’s students could immediately relate to based on their prior field trip to the Karnataka State Council of Science and Technology in October 2009. Ayyanar, a 10th standard student who is particularly passionate about working with his hands to create innovative machines and models, explained how to harvest rain water in paved vs. unpaved areas as demonstrated by the RWH facilities at JNP. He even discussed the purpose of a recharging pit, where harvested rain water is stored underground to restore our ground water supply.

Solar System Show
At the planetarium, students participated in a thirty minute programme which showcased wonderful images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope from a height of about 575 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The programme discusses some of the landmark discoveries about the universe based on observations of the space telescope. It is a fascinating tour of the cosmos, briefly halting at various galaxies such as the Milky Way Galaxy.


The programme begins with an introduction to the night sky, identifying the planets, stars and constellations. The twelve constellations in the zodiacal belt enable us to observe, study and formulate the motions of planets. Man’s understanding of the universe has undergone a sea of change since the advent of telescopes followed by space probes. The programme has liberal sprinkling of visuals as captured by these scientific instruments. The formation of solar system, including the sun, is also discussed. The programme includes many animations. Most interestingly, the programme examines our own position, the existence and significance of life on Earth, relative to the vast realm of the cosmos.

After the solar system show, the students toured an exhibition of books, science kits, models, telescopes, photos, etc., all concerning astronomy. There was a weighing scale that shows one's weight on all the planets based on their respective forces of gravity, and gives a print-out for the cost of Rs. 5/- It goes without saying that all of our students at DSF participated in this activity with great enthusiasm!. 

Karnataka State Level Energy Park (KSLEP) 

It is indeed impossible to imagine our lives, planet, and universe without energy. Energy is omnipresent in various forms from anywhere to everywhere, and from anybody to everybody. It doesn’t matter how young or old we are, we all need to understand and appreciate the various forms and sources of energy that factor into our lives. KSLEP was established with exactly this objective in mind; providing information about renewable energy through various interactive exhibits. Spreading over eight acres, this is a space for Action, Interaction, Invention and Exploration that adds a refreshing dimension to the urban buzz of Bangalore city.Students observed various models at KSLEP, but most impressive was a solar house entirely constructed from bamboo. The house had the following facilities fully powered by solar energy:

• Six11-watt lights.
• Two high efficiency ceiling fans working for six to seven hrs/day.
• One refrigerator working for 24 hrs/day.
• One 21”colour TV operating for five to six hrs/day.
• One P4 computer, multimedia with internet facility working for six hrs/day.
In addition to the solar house, students also observed a solar swimming pool, battery and solar-powered cars, an energy generating slip and drum, a parabolic and box-type solar cooker, a wind-powered water pump, a solar-powered water heating system, and many other structures. Students also participated in various computer-based energy quizzes and games, which enabled them to review various concepts of renewable energy.

Conclusion
Overall, the field trip was jam packed with fun and educational activities. DSF’s students had a wonderful time exploring the realm of science through hands-on applications ranging from a tour of the solar system to learning how to manifest alternative, eco-friendly sources of energy. At the end of the day, students collected a wealth of information to share with their friends and family. It was extremely satisfying to observe their excitement and enthusiasm to participate in the day’s activities, explore new concepts, and to share their experience with others.