Opposites Attract, Likes Repel: Workshop on Magnetism by Vidnyan Vahini

January 30, 2015 • Posted in: News, Pench Maharashtra Workshops, Workshops

Who hasn’t ever tried to make the two similar ends of magnet touch? Or, tested how many paper clips he or she can lift with just one magnet.

Magnetism is perhaps one of the most entertaining parts of Pyhsics and this month, the students had a wonderful workshop by Vidnyan Vahini on it. Mr. Sharad Godse and Mr. Vinayak Dixit of Vidnyan Vahini were down in Pench to epxore with the students the properties of magnetism and why it is so unique, and the importance of the phenomenon in our daily life.

Students understanding the principles of magnetism.

Students understanding the principles of magnetism.

Beginning with the basics, the students got a chance to handle magnets themselves. Often, such basic science resources are unavailable in many rural schools hindering the students’ understanding of concepts; a huge knowledge gap created by the lack of hands- on education.

The students understood the basic properties of magnetism comprising of the magnetic force and its field, the North and South ends of a magnet and materials that are attracted to magnets.

Next, the students were introduced to electromagnetism. By simply rubbing the ends of a wire to a magnet, the wire becomes a magnet. This may look and sound fairly simple, but its applications in the modern world are complex and very crucial. Take, for example, an electric doorbell, the principle on which it works is electromagnetism. An electric motor too works on the principle of electromagnetism, and the students put together a model of the same. The crane on the docks- yes, you guessed it right- works on this principle as well.

Taking electromagnetism further through ‘magnetic levitation’, trains in countries like China, show the world the efficient use of electromagnetism. A model of such magnetic levitation was presented to the students and they were then asked to put together the model themselves.

Boys working on a model of electromagnetism.

Boys working on a model of electromagnetism.

With all these amazing models being put together in the workshop, some of the kids had the most amount of fun on the simplest experiment of them all- the one of magnetic fields. Sprinkling iron dust onto the table and putting a magnet over it to observe the magnetic field fascinated the students!

Students trying their had at various experiments in the workshop.

Students trying their had at various experiments in the workshop.

The conscientious educators that they are, Mr. Godse and Mr. Dixit came prepared to help the elder students with their scientific concepts as well. Along with magnetism, they conducted a practical and hands- on workshop on electricity, wave motion and even optics for the students from grade 9 up till 12. We are so grateful for the voluntary workshops that they conducted during their time in Pench. A boon to the students as they prepare for their exams and the teachers too.

(If students can’t reach the E-Base, not a problem, we can reach out to them. Workshops on the Maharashtra side of the Pench Tiger Reserve began in July 2014. With a modified E-Base program, we take the workshops, projects and even a library to the doorstep of these students in Maharashtra. With an audience of close to 180 students this year, we are sure to make a lasting impact and continue growing as the years pass. The enthusiasm and curiousity displayed by the students in Maharashtra make every effort we take to travel for hours to reach the schools in Pench, Maharashtra worth it.

Keep up with our blog as we continue to travel to different ends of the forest of Pench to reach out to a wider audience to aggrandize our impact, thereby aggrandizing the effort to save the tiger and its home.)

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