Explore a limestone cave, get to know about fossils, take a peek into meteorology and bring back an honour to the country – this is just the gist of the experience class XI student S. Varun Rajagopal has had in the last few weeks.
The lessons that this period has offered have been very rich for the teenager who is back after winning a bronze at the International Earth Sciences Olympiad (IESO) that was recently held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
The IESO 2010 saw 19 countries participating , with four students representing each country. Varun was the only student from Chennai in the Indian contingent, the other participants being from Delhi, Goa and Varanasi.
“I got to know about this Olympiad through my teacher Ms. Mahalakshmi Ramjee. There were different qualifying examinations and later a training camp in Bangalore,” says Varun, a student of Padma Seshadri School, Nungambakkam.
At the camp in Bangalore, students got to listen to experts speak on a range of topics related to the earth sciences. “We also got to do some field work.”
In Indonesia, the IESO tested students on subjects such as oceanography, meteorology, astronomy, and geosphere. Evaluations involve written tests testing theoretical and practical components. Additionally, students were also given a group exercise. “Our task was to explore a limestone cave there and share our observations with an audience,” said Varun, whose teammates in the group were from other countries.
R. Shankar, vice-chair, International Geosciences Education Organisation and foreign secretary, Geological Society of India says the event seeks to raise the general awareness about earth sciences. “It is a vehicle to proving the syllabus across countries”.
Prof. Shankar said India would host the Olympiad in 2013. “Earth science is essentially a field subject. So the contest involves a small field project that would require students of different countries to collaborate and take up a small project on the field. Students tend to learn a lot.”