Andrew Dale, a rising sophomore at Wayzata High School in MN, traveled to India to spearhead a STEM lab for the Moriah Home and School.
In India, the curriculum is highly centralized and high-stakes testing occurs 3-4 times a year. Teachers are given a state syllabus which much be covered. Even students in the youngest grades learn science by memorizing multiple choice questions.
The Moriah STEM project sought to invest in the natural curiosity and love of science among all students. We brought over $500 of science equipment and thousands of Lego pieces donated by friends and members of Andrew’s First Lego League Team, the Wayzata Ultrabots.
While we brought microscopes and glassware from the United States, we made sure that all materials for the demonstrations could be found in India itself. With wood scraps, metal keychain rings, and cotton, we created bubble wands that make kid-sized bubbles. We used cornstarch (named corn flour in India and the UK) to make Oobleck. Instead of using Borax to make slime, we made slime out of liquid starch, an ingredient found in every Indian household that makes rice three times a day. We used full-fat buffalo milk, liquid soap and food coloring used in Chicken Biriyani to teach students about surface tension. Finally, we boiled down a red-cabbage from the Indian markets and make red cabbage indicators to check for the presence of acids and bases.
All these demos were shown during the Moriah STEM exhibition. As an added health demo, we used the Glo-germ demo in which safe ingredients, the same size as bacteria, basically 5 microns in size, was used to simulate the spread of germs. A few students in the group received a squirt of glo-germ gel. Then all the students shook hands with 10 of their best friends. When they viewed their hands under UV light, they could see the simulated germs had spread. This demo taught how quickly and broadly germs can be spread in a short period of time. We concluded by teaching the kindergartners how to wash their hands for as long as it takes to sing the ABC song.
If you’d like to support the next phase of the STEM project at Moriah, click here for more information.