50 students from a nearby schools come to Thamarai weekly to develop skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths and equally important to develop key competencies and capacities such as teamwork, social skills, communication, experimentation and leadership. We hope that this experience can ultimately inform career choices for those interested in a path of technology. Our team lead for STEM Vishnu, shared that he is proud that this school and other local village community centres come for weekly programs to Annai nagar village.
Vishnu : We wanted to spread STEM activity in the schools near Thamarai. So, we went to Pavendhar English High School and talked to the headmaster and teacher about the skills and values that develop through STEM. They were positive, we found that we had similar values and both of us wanted to create opportunities in technology and a happy environment of peer learning so as a next step, they came with the children to visit Thamarai STEMroom for an introduction.
That day we presented a few STEM projects to them to give an idea about what they could learn through STEM. The children and the school teachers were very excited and curious to see the different types of projects from various fields. We showcased a few electronics, scratch coding and robotics projects and ran the machine in front of them and showed examples of what previous students had designed and printed.
As a first step, we invited the children to make ground rules for this new class, so they would feel connected and take responsibility for their class atmosphere. The same day the children choose 3 group members to work with for their projects, they were careful to keep gender balance in mind.
There are some computers in their school so we split the group into two batches, one does electronics and scratch programming in school and the other batch comes to Thamarai to do robotics and 3-D printing in our lab. We shuffle the batch every 2nd week.. This class will run for 6 months, during this time, we will train one of the teachers and support them to take STEM activities forward in their school. During this six-month time, we will take part in an RTL leadership program with the children and teachers, this will develop agency out of which further projects will develop to take forward.