On a lazy weekend morning at Gulmohar Park in Serilingampally, a few children play on the lawns while a group of adults brisk walk. The real action however, is happening at the park’s play area where a few plastic pipes, valves, golf ball, pulley and dominoes are lying. Here, Rajesh Srivatsava and his eight-year-old son are on a mission to topple the dominoes and are experimenting with different types of pipes. Wondering what pipes and pulleys are doing in a GHMC community park? It is one of the new spaces to explore science concepts in a fun play way with some help from DoScience, a one-of-its-kind science centre that is based near Sanjeevaiah Park. “One can prick a balloon easily with a pin but this game is based on Rube Goldberg machine,” says Aparna Vishwanatham of DoScience. An American cartoonist, engineer, author and inventor, Rube Goldberg, through his drawings, made fun of complex gadgets performing simple tasks. His sarcastic cartoons became a learning tool.
In a Rube Goldberg machine, one slides a ball down a ramp which topples a few dominoes, then it bounces off the solid surface and falls off a lever to push and pop the balloon,” she smiles. DoScience has been conducting these games at GHMC parks for a month now. It all started in April this year when B Srinivas, Conservator of Forests and Director, Urban Forestry HMDA saw how families actively participated in science games at the DoScience centre and invited them to conduct their games at Sanjeevaiah Park. “With its beautiful landscaped gardens, Sanjeevaiah Park sees a huge footfall, but visitors don’t really explore the gardens. HMDA wanted us to start these games to bring in more families,” she shares. This weekly (Sunday mornings) event at Sanjeevaiah Park has six games including two treasure hunts and a freedom hunt, all based on science concepts. “With smart phones taking over lives, families spend very little quality time together. These sessions encourage family bonding and it was interesting to see how elders too joined in,” shares Srinivas.
Now Sunday mornings at Sanjeevaiah Park are a fun, family affair. Often, adults are seen enjoying the games more than their children; so much so that the team sometimes has to tell them to let the little ones also play. “As these are not simple games and one has to apply logic, the group members are constantly interacting and discussing. This interaction and thrill of exploring science concepts is exciting. It is like revisiting their science classes at school,” explains Aparna.
- Cactus garden: With clues of the cacti and a map, the participants go around the garden to explore and find it. “When families do it together, there is so much fun,” shares Aparna. In another game, a sapling is given to participants and they have to find it in the nursery garden. “They are forced to look at the leaf and its structure. It is learning but all disguised.”
- Game of cards Based on Game of Thrones, the game has six rounds and questions built using the principles of science. In this science treasure hunt to be held at the park’s herbal garden, one has to find hidden tokens and solve cryptic clues. The event is free and open to all including grown-ups and will be held on September 7 between 3 pm to 5 pm; Register at www.tinyurl.com/Sunday23
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With this success, GHMC wanted DoScience to try these science games at its community parks as well. GHMC selects and informs DoScience which park will host these games. With smaller and intimate parks being allotted, these weekend sessions are looked at as a community building activity. Called Game of Games, these sessions at GHMC parks have two parts; the first segment is a simple obstacle course wherein participants walk through cones to get a sling shot, the second involves the Rube Goldberg machine. One outingat the Gautami Layout Park in Kondapur saw a participation of more than 80 people. “After a while, we had to stop taking new entries,” recalls Aparna.
“At Sanjeevaiah Park, we see the same people playing these games; Our Facebook and What’s App community is growing and they bring their friends and families. We want more new visitors to explore these games.”
So, if you want the DoScience team to visit your community parks contact your local GHMC co-ordinator.
(Event details are regularly updated on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/dosciencenow)