There is no one perfect way to make formal-education more effective and interesting. Bhumi volunteers have made sure that our children appreciate what they learn, through their practical teaching methods and radical education fests. A pole-star in Bhumi’s Ignite education programme is the Ignite Fest, an annual inter-shelter home education fest conducted in Chennai.
At Ignite Fest, hundreds of children from different shelter homes and lower economic schools participate to display expertise they have gained through the subjects taught by our volunteers. Children demonstrate project related models, conduct experiments and attend workshops, and thus get a unique opportunity to learn, compete and grow. It serves as a platform to ignite the potential within.
This academic year (2017 -18), the Fest was organised in NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), where 950 children took part, some displaying interesting projects made by themselves in teams, guided by volunteers. More than 260 Bhumi volunteers helped in organising and conducting the event. The stage has inspired children to bring out their otherwise passive potential. Apart from the project expo, there were technical games and workshops for children. In all, the day proved to be an ensemble of talents, an inspiration to participants and the guests.
A brief account of activities and games are given below, categorised under each of the subjects taught to them during their Ignite weekend classes.
- Games to Speak Out – English
Games like Secret spies, Hangman and Flashcards showcased the thinking and learning capability of the kids. There were games in which they had to rearrange the letters, fill in the gaps and learn through observation. Pictionary and animal charades brought out the pictorial identification and acting skills of the kids. Small kids were asked to differentiate the upper and lower cases of the alphabets through one game. In Run to board, the concept was to connect different words to a common thematic word. Own the Castle couples a regular board game with gaining the boldness to speak out, aiding in their English speaking skill.
- Little Einstein – Mathematics
Game stalls were set up for Mathematics, giving a magical experience with numbers for children. Time Spinner for calculating time, Arithmetic Roulette for test addition and subtraction skills, and many other games to test children’s capability with numbers – like identifying place values, working with fractions, recognising shapes and length measurement – were conducted. These were to analyze how well the kids have grasped the concepts taught to them and how easily they are able to apply the same in solving real-world problems.
- Kanini – Computer Science
To work with a computer is always exciting for children. Workshops on Paint and Power Point was organised, where many interested children got benefitted. Games to test tying speed of children, online games to learn various concepts, and quizzes were conducted. In another game, kids had to segregate input and output devices which were pasted on cards, within a particular time.
- Little Einstein – Science
Scintillating science projects done by our LES kids were exhibited. Besides the project expo, a science workshop was handled by the LES volunteers for the kids who participated in the fest. We felt the thirst of inquisitiveness in the faces of our kids when they began explaining their projects to the visitors. They were all well appreciated by the guests.
- Artoons – Arts
Under Artoons, two main events were organised, aimed at bringing out the creativity of the kids. One event emphasised on how all paintings doesn’t necessarily require a paint brush. It was demonstrated that any material like sponge, forks, straws, even hands can be used to portray creativity on paper. Around 250 kids participated and each, and every kid came up with brilliant ideas, efficiently using the materials.
The second big event was ‘Klee art’, inspired by the great artist Paul Klee. It explores colour theory. Many big pictures were drawn and cut into pieces like puzzle pieces. Each piece was distributed to the kids and were asked to colour as per their wish. Various colouring mediums like crayons, colour pencil, and paints were provided to them. This event let the kids explore how various colouring media complement each other. Finally all the pieces were put together to form the big picture.
We even had a ‘Quilling workshop’, where around 50 kids were taught basic quilling, and were asked to make their own greeting card using them. The events turned out to be colourful and vibrant, leaving all of us spellbound by their creativity.
- Yantra – Robotics
Children in teams, guided by volunteers, constructed their own mini robots. Kids were divided in groups of 4-6 members, to form total 17 teams. Each team has demonstrated one robot/project.More than 300 children were guests to these projects, appreciating their peer and getting inspired. Few robots demonstrated were Automatic Dust bin, Blind man stick and Sun (Light) Tracker to be used for Solar Panel.