A Visit to the Science With Toys Programme (Mr. Arvind Gupta)

During my first year of teaching at St. Francis High School in Pune, I started to raise funds for my classroom to help facilitate activities and field trips for my children. Early in my second year, I used some of the funds to organise a field trip with my 5th standard children to the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) Science With Toys programme being run at the time by Mr. Arvind Gupta, a renowned toy inventor and science expert. His TED talk on making toys from trash has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube.

A friend of mine (also a Teach For India fellow), Ms. Priyanka Agrawal, joined us for the trip. She taught 5th standard as well and brought some of her kids along. Two teachers are always better than one on an outing with active children!

We were taken to a classroom where Mr. Gupta and some of his team members were ready with materials that they planned to use for the workshop. The workshop started with demonstrations involving science toys wherein the teacher asked our children to predict outcomes before she actually played with the toys. After seeing the results, our kids were asked to explain why they thought the toys behaved in those ways.

An origami hat-making activity to get our children working with their hands followed. There was a great deal of excitement as hats, both big and small, began turning up on their heads!

Next, Mr. Arvind Gupta showed our children a few of the toys that were designed and made at his toy centre at IUCAA.

After the workshop, we took our children to a small park that was next to the building that housed the Science With Toys programme. One of the photos that Priyanka clicked is the one I used for the 'About The Author' page of this blog! My children spent about half an hour in cool, overcast Pune weather playing on swings and climbing bars!