A science lab set up by a private organisation in Government Higher Primary School, Mannagudda, will be used by students of other government schools as well. Called the Round Table Innovative Science Lab, it has several interactive science models and specimens, aimed at giving children a hands-on experience rather than through textbooks. Lokesh C., Block Education Officer (BEO), Mangalore North Block, said, “We will get 25 to 50 students accompanied by a teacher from other schools to visit the lab on Saturdays.”

The laboratory has a live optics demonstration explaining concepts such as reflection and refraction. A spiral rotating periodic table (not the tabulated periodic table) teaches children about elements in Chemistry. A model of the solar system is fixed on the ceiling. It has a ‘perpetual calendar’ (relevant perennially) and some biology specimens. A convex lens throws a tiny upside-down image of everyone entering through the lab door on the opposite wall.

Hanumantha, a class 7 student, pulled apart the model of a brain into two pieces and identified the medulla oblongata. His classmates, Anil and Chaitra, crowded around a three-dimensional model of body parts, removed the lungs and heart and identified the parts of the digestive system.

Neil Rodrigues, Chairman, Mangalore Coastal Round Table 190, a unit of Round Table India, which set up the lab in the school, said the lab is based on the ‘think-learn-practice’ concept, and focused on practical application aimed at kindling scientific curiosity among children.

Aruna, a teacher in the school, said teachers were consulted before installing the models. They are related to the lessons in the textbooks. Earlier, the children did not know what a laboratory was, she said.

Ganesh Kumar, Assistant Teacher, said children experience science and understand it better in the laboratory than when they read about it in textbooks. “They touch, hear and understand science concepts,” he said. Mr. Rodrigues said the organisation set up the laboratory in a government school as it would impact more students than in a private school.

It spent Rs. 8 lakh for the lab, of which Rs. 1.5 lakh was from the Mangalore branch. It will next create an audiovisual media room where students can hear lectures from teachers in other parts of the country.

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