For the love of learning

For the love of learning

For the love of learning

Located in an expansive space, Dharwad Regional Science Centre near Karnatak University has an array of displays that offers a timeline of science and history. From the life-size models portraying the town planning of the Indus Valley civilisation to the modern day holograms, the centre has it all, making this place a heaven to the inquisitive minds and science lovers in the region. The State has two such regional science centres - one in Dharwad and another in Mangaluru.  

The central theme of this scientific repository is 'Science 5000 BCE' to 'Technology 2018'. "In India, science took birth along with history," says Dr K B Gudasi, director of  the  centre. "The centre has been designed in such a way that the visitors, especially students, can understand the journey of science in India, from the time of the Indus Valley civilisation," he adds.

The best part of this centre is that it not only explains the concepts but allows one to experience science in action. The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) designed this centre and it has been open to the public since 2012. It is categorised into three sections: 'Our Science & Technology Heritage', 'Bio-Machines' and 'Fun Sciences'. The ground floor houses an interactive display of the discoveries of past civilisations, while the first floor has a variety of nature-inspired exhibits.  

The centre also houses two temporary exhibition halls, where theme-based experiments are on display. Other facilities include an inflatable dome planetarium, a lecture hall, children's activity corner, 3D theatre and a science park. The science park has a 'Dinosaur Park' with models of prehistoric animals. Aside from this, there is a display on the Harappans as world's first town planners. A set of models depicting the society and towns make for an interesting view. The models comprise a goldsmith, a trader and a man bathing within a well-built house and an equipped sewage system.    

Interactive methods

At a time when there is a dearth of good science teachers or equipment to perform experiments, this centre in Dharwad acts as a one-stop solution for learning. A majority of the science models installed here are based on the syllabus of 8th to 12th standard. The centre develops science kits with quality equipment, which are distributed to government schools for free. This helps students learn science through experiments.    

Before distributing the kits, the centre invites the teachers of the schools and trains them for seven days. The centre regularly invites rural students from Bagalkot,  Belagavi,  Vijayapura, Dharwad,  Gadag,  Haveri and  Uttara Kannada districts for training and workshops.

"Science was a dreadful subject for me. I was waiting to complete my 10th standard so that I can be done with it once for all," recalls Rekha Patil, a student from Belagavi, who attended one such workshop and started enjoying science thereafter.  "It is a subject, where one has to experiment and experience, whereas teachers most of the time end up just explaining the concept," she says.

Every year, the centre gets nearly 1.5 lakh students as visitors. For Sukruth Puranik, a 9th standard student, the centre is a mega-science lab, where concepts are presented in a simpler way. "The best thing about the centre is, all the experiments like snake pendulum, light refraction and human body function models are explained well. We can press the button and see how the experiment is done, and later read about the concept from the board placed next to models," he says.  

More initiatives

The government and rural schools have their own set of challenges to overcome. "The system stresses on the completion of syllabus on time for the exams. And, it is difficult for teachers to conduct science experiments in classrooms. Moreover, not all schools have science laboratories and apparatus," says a government teacher.  

The centre intends to conduct regular workshops for teachers to keep them updated on subject knowledge and developments  in the field. The director says that they are ready to be an incubating centre for ideas by providing their laboratory to members. "With the Karnatak University backing us, the researchers can also get inputs from the subject experts there," he says. However, due to limited funds, it has become difficult for the management to maintain the centre. Hence, it intends to go the Public-Private Participation way to expand its activities.  

The centre is organising a week-long celebration of National Science Day, observed on February 28. As part of the event, it is hosting a series of guest lectures on various topics.  

For more information about the centre and its activities, visit www.dharwadsciencecentre.org.

 

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