The partnership between RIST and Agastya started in 2018. With support from RIST, Agastya reached out to schools and Communities across 6 states of India (Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Karnataka). RIST is supporting 27 Programs benefiting 36000+ students across 260+ schools. Agastya runs Diet Science Centres, Mobile Science Lab and Lab on a Bike in above mentioned locations, Hands on science sessions per month are conducted in the schools by the instructors of the Diet Science Centers, Mobile Science Lab and Lab on a Bike using models covering a wide range of topics in Physics, Chemistry and Biology for Class 5 through 9. These instructors also conduct science fairs, teacher training sessions, train Young Instructors (YI) and reach community members through night community visits.
AGASTYA’ s programs make quality education accessible to all and provide a transformative educational experience, by injecting three critical elements into the classroom:
• Aah! Using simple, counterintuitive experiments, models, stories and discussion to create surprise, delight, enthusiasm and joy in learning.
• Aha! Promoting enquiry, experimentation, exploration, participation and hands-on interaction through kinesthetic, activity- and project-based learning to generate inspiration, recognition, comprehension and creative insight.
• Ha-Ha! Relieving fear and anxiety, ingraining information, improving retention, boosting performance and increasing motivation through fun and humor.
At the Science Centre, hundreds of experiments and models are exhibited in Science (Chemistry, Physics, Biology), Math, Ecology and Astronomy. Government school teachers and children visit the centre, and are given the opportunity to interact with simple science experiments and models. The science Centres act as a resource centre, teacher training centre, venue for special training activities like; project based learning, discovery based learning, integrated learning, Young Instructor Leader training, summer camps and science fairs.
The Science Centre is also a space for children and teachers to experience learning in a hands-on, interactive and positive environment. Children perform experiments, learn to make simple models with easily available low-cost materials and participate in team-based projects.
The Mobile Science Lab (MSL) is a powerful and innovative instrument to revolutionize rural education and make hands-on education increasingly accessible. It is a catalytic channel that is fun, engaging and interactive, aimed to raise awareness among disadvantaged children and teachers of the value of learning - with a focus on science.
Each MSL travels to remote schools with 100+ hands-on science models covering a wide range of topics in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Math for Class 5 through 10. The teaching approach is consistent with the National Curriculum Framework (and NCERT syllabus), but also include other experiments intended to spark curiosity and encourage questioning among the children. MSLs are effective in delivering large science fairs, and reaching community members through night community visits which allow the child’s parents, family and community members to participate.
To scale its reach and impact, Agastya had initiated the Lab in a Box (LIB) program in the year 2009. The LIB program comprises of 10 boxes filled with experiments covering different concepts from Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The LIB program has proved to be a great resource for government school teachers to execute hands-on science activities on a regular basis. The Lab on a Bike (LoB) program is a variation of the LIB program wherein an Agastya instructor uses the LIB to conduct hands- on science classes in the schools. The instructor travels to different schools each day along with an LIB which fits onto the side of his bike. On completion of visiting all the pre-defined schools, the instructor starts his next cycle with the second box and so on. In a full academic year the LIB will cover 10 schools.