A small step – Foldscopes reach teachers

The lesson for June may be patience. As hundreds of newly recruited teachers get counselled, assigned schools and trained; and hundreds more working teachers anticipate their transfer orders to new schools, bright and creative minds mill around, waiting. This week, just days after they joined school, we held a workshop to introduce foldscopes to teachers…

Cheek and inner lip cells

At about 60 microns in size, human cheek cells are larger than most other animal cells (which are typically 10-30 microns). They are also easily found, by gently chewing the inside of your cheek and scraping out the surface with a spoon or a finger. These are some images of Hardi’s cheek cells, first without…

Onion outside in

We started with an onion from the outside.  First there’s a dried up layer or ‘tunic’ that we don’t eat. The cells in the tunic must be dead. Even the cell walls are disintegrated, quite unlike the dead xylem cells that we saw in matchsticks. Later we found, in the wonderful Walter Dioni’s website, that…

Matchstick cells

The school year has begun, with new textbooks, new stuff to learn, and soon, new foldscopes for students in ten of the TSWREIS schools — thanks to DBT and Prakash Lab’s ‘India Foldscope Phase 1’. The school curriculum of Telangana State luckily prescribes quite a few microscope activities. We are trying these out, with a…

Life in a pedestal pond

Life in a pedestal pond Hyderabad was once a city of beautiful lakes and ponds and to some it still seems so. Our place-names record long-lost water — Gachibowli (well), Nallakunta (pond), Patancheru (lake), Chaderghat (riverside), and many more. As we continue to lose our water sources to urban sprawls we experience the seamy side…

Fungus on onion

Onions in India often grow a black powdery fungus. Here’s a folscope-look at this fungus and the cells that it grows on. First try – we discarded the dry papery outer peels and looked at the inner wet peel of the onion which was spotted with fungus. We stained it with methylene blue. It seems…

Slices of plants

After our first ‘Atoms to Amoeba’ workshop four of our neighbouring TSWREIS (social welfare residential) schools took back two foldscopes each. Too few, yet so far several hundred students, most from remote rural parts of Telangana, have got their own “wow” moments on these foldscopes. It happened because our teacher participants went beyond conducting foldscope…

Inculcating Research Culture Right From Schools

As a part of TIFR, Hyderabad’s efforts to facilitate better science education in the local schools, it now interacts closely with four of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Schools, all within 10 km from the institute. On regular close interactions with the teachers and students alike from the schools, we realized that schools are fast…