60 projects by 33 schools presented at regional round of 20 edition of event
“How many hours of power do we have everyday?,” a 11-year-old on the dais queried as children seated in front of her, chorused, ‘Twelve’. “How does power cut affect you as a student?” asked the girl’s team-mate. A cacophony of voices broke out again, airing various grievances. “What have you done to solve the problem?” put forth another voice. A pause and then the answers came tumbling out.
The younger generation’s engagement with present day problems and their eagerness to find answers by tapping into science was what the district leg of National Children’s Science Congress was all about. If not solutions and alternatives, they came up with coping measures for load shedding, hike in fuel prices and cap on LPG cylinders.
From proposing that colonies and residential settlements extract energy from human waste for cooking, suggesting LPG cylinders at home be substituted with bio-gas generated from kitchen waste and minor modifications in power consumption can reduce electricity tariffs, the projects went beyond suggestions and hypothesis. In the three month period allotted to them, students tested and proved the feasibility of these projects through research, field work and surveys.
Around 60 science projects by 33 schools in the district were presented at the regional round of the 20 edition of the event at J.J.College of Engieering and Technology. Organised by the Department of Science and Technology and supported by the Tamil Nadu Science Forum here, the theme of the nationwide event this year was ‘Energy: explore, harness and conserve’. The national finalists contend for the ‘Young Scientist’ title.
Six projects that have been selected to represent the district at the State-level conference at Coimbatore are R.C Adimoolam Middle School (Usage of Energy in household); Corporation Middle School (conversion of human waste into heat energy); Sri Sivananda Balalaya (kitchen energy efficiency); Montfort School (environmental impact of power plant); SRV Matriculation School (gender wise energy consumption); and Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya (muscular energy converted to electrical energy). The State finalists would participate at the national congress at Varanasi between December 27 and 30.
The organisers were a tad disappointed that out of 121 registered projects, only 60 saw the light of day. Around 500 teachers from middle and higher secondary schools across the district attended a workshop where they were trained to motivate students to take part. Yet there was minimal participation from government schools, said one of the organisers. Last year, the number of projects submitted was higher and a significant number were drawn from rural schools.