Pulling Off a Science Exhibition For Low Budget

Overcoming the obstacles, Raising Funds, Online Collaboration and Putting together a team to make your vision come true.

Welcome to your blog post. Use this space to connect with your readers and potential customers in a way that’s current and interesting. Think of it as an ongoing conversation where you can share updates about business, trends, news, and more.

The Motivation

My vision is to impact the lives of students in their journey

As part of the alumni work, we wanted to do things that would benefit our juniors. We wanted to share our experiences to them. But none of the ideas never really made me feel

like I'm actually making any impact on the student's lives. But there was one thing I felt could

really make an impact on the student's journey in our school.

It was science. If I could somehow make students feel what it feels like to be performing real practical life experiments and solving the puzzles of science, then I know I would've hit the right spots in the minds of students. I wish to see students learn science in a fun and interesting way. That’s what I feel science really is, it is fun and enjoyable.

Breaking down the vision

Science can be loved by doing it. So, I planned an event where students are inspired through fun DIY toys/experiments and are given resources to make their own and most importantly an opportunity to present the science concepts with the model/experiment they built.

This event will be a science workshop cum exhibition where students would bring in their science models/experiments and exhibit along with an explanatory board or chart explaining the concepts of science behind the models/experiments they are exhibiting.

How Does This Help ?

3 Things:

  • Breaks the barrier of restricting a student to their own syllabus.

  • Teaches them ‘What is researching’ means, and in the process.

  • It would also bring them closer to their teachers.

Now let’s take an example:

A simple science experiment ‘Why doesn’t egg float in normal water but does in saltwater’. One might think that the experiment is very simple that even a 6th std student should be able to explain the concept. But, it’s not until 8th std that he/she learns Archimedes principle or Buoyancy concept. If they are bringing this experiment/model to the exhibition, that group of 6th std students would have to explain the concept. They can’t help but ask a senior or teacher, who might suggest them to read a chapter in 8th std textbook. That’s how the above 3 things can be achieved. In the process they step beyond their syllabus and improves their relationship with teachers.

Stepping In The Shoes Of Students

The real question is how to get students to bring their model to the exhibition.? How do you inspire students who haven’t done any science experiment apart from the curriculum to come forward with their ideas? As an organizer, it is not like I go to them a month before and make an announcement to bring their models on one particular day. It just doesn’t work because if haven’t done any fun experiments that wouldn’t have ideas. I have to step in their shoes and think.

Now, if was in a 7th or 8th std and a senior came to our class and told us this. I’d be scared and wouldn’t show up because I don’t have ideas. But I’d rather be willing to attend a session if the same senior came to me and asked me to join a free session where they’d show me how to come up with science project ideas, demonstrate me couple of examples and give me some resources like science kits to do them on my own. That’s a way you can inspire them.

Using The Existing Resources

“Don't need to re-invent the wheel”

So, I decided we’ll need to organize a workshop and now the challenges are

  1. To provide them with some ideas and

  2. To provide them the materials required to do any of those experiments.

Now, I definitely don't have a lot of ideas for science models. But wait.. what if I bought a

bunch of science kits and distributed them ? No.. It would add up a lot of cost. We don't have big amount of money and we need to mainly have money for other events.

I clearly don’t know how to get science kits for low cost.

Now, Here’s where I checked the website of Mr. Arvind Gupta. I recall him from one of his seminar in Tata Institute of Research. He’s an Indian inventor and ‘Padmashree’ awardee. I checked website that has an incredible collection of all the science experiments of various complexity. This was the life work of Arvind Gupta. He has made numerous toys and science experiments using everyday inexpensive things like plastic straws, tyre tubes and magnets. The materials required to make those toys and experiments required very little or no cost at all.

I didn't have to come up a solution but found an existing solution for my problem"

To sum it up:

Problem statement : On one hand I didn't have the experiment ideas of my own. On the other didn't have the money for buying expensive science kits.

Solution: And the solution was in finding experiment ideas that required little cost or no cost materials.

Pro Tip: I believe that this can be true even on a large scale in most businesses as well. The solution might be putting together the existing scientific research to come up with innovative solution for a problem.

Here's a video I made for my classmates explaining them about this solution.

Using Data to Make Decisions

“Data has the answers for the right questions you ask”

Having found the resources isn’t enough. I need to make sure we use that properly. Because

there are still other really important questions.

For how many classes should we do this activity ? Should it for the entire school or only particular classes ? How to figure out what experiments should be assigned to which class ? How many groups can be formed in each class ? Are there some experiments for which the materials required are not available in school ? If so, how can we decide on the amount of money (even though less) to be spent in buying those required materials ? What would be the cost in printing the handouts ? These are few questions among many.

These are simple decision calls but the approach to answer them should be systematic.

I set out to do is collect data and statistics of the experiments list from Mr.Gupta’s website (http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/). Because data or statistics is where the answers are. So, I started collecting the data for each experiment so that I can answer the above questions.

1. Materials Required for each experiment.

2. Materials available already in the school.

3. Where can the materials be bought?

4. Rough estimate of the materials

5. To which class would this experiment be suitable?

6. What should be the group number for this experiment?  

That’s how the data is important in making a decision.

Here's a short video of me giving instructions to my fellow classmates on how to fill the excel sheet.

How Does Great Impacts Happen

“Learning from visionaries and studying their work”

I figured that this is how Melinda gates and bill gated also run their foundation. They have visions. Like, they want to eradicate polio, they want to push people out of the poverty line, they want to reduce child mortality rate. They’d research and go through the data and statistics. They’d find out that if people have only that many children whom they can feed and take care properly, then we’d have less child mortality rate. And now once route cause is known, they’d now and go figure how to convince people to have a family planning. Now at this point they have gotten to a tangible result that they can work on. They’ll suggest people and talk more about the use of contraceptives and how it can help family planning. You see, it all starts with a vision and proceeds by asking the right questions and then looking through data for answers. We’ll end with a tangible plan to take action on. That’s what I want to do. I want to take up bigger challenges and solve them.

Your school gives me an opportunity to work on some of the interesting practical problems.