Foldscopes on the go! A follow-up workshop for TSWREIS teachers

Following our earlier two day workshop in June, teachers in 10 residential schools of three districts of Telangana introduced foldscopes into their Grade 8 and 9 classrooms. We kept in touch with them, some long-distance and the nearby ones in weekend visits. There were a few unexpected starting hiccups, that we shared in the last post. Teachers posted some nice images on WhatsApp; still, we sensed that we had ways to go. The senior teachers who had attended the workshop had got busy with the very demanding curriculum of their senior secondary classes. The Grade 8 and 9 teachers, who had also attended our June workshop, were relatively new on their job but now, armed with their experiences of foldscopes in the classroom, they were brimming with feedback for us. So it came about one Saturday afternoon, over a month after we had distributed the foldscopes, that these 10 teachers from the 10 TSWREIS schools re-assembled at the neighbouring Gowlidoddi school, for a review and follow-up workshop.

This time around a few students who had been introduced to foldscopes also participated with their teachers. Along with no less than seven of us outreach volunteers from TCIS, HCU and CCMB, we had a day of thorough discussions and demos targeting problems that the teachers had faced with assembly and usage, and also in implementing of foldscope activities in their classrooms.  Most of the teachers had brought back their foldscopes for checking (whether all were folded properly or not!) and the students helped them to check out every single one.

We have been aiming at having students carry out foldscope projects for their 2018 science festival. In the past week the teachers had tried out a few curricular activities and project ideas which they shared during the workshop. They hope to carry the ideas further with the students.

Then we had a session on how to post on the Microcosmos site. You’ll find all the posts by searching for the tag TSWREIS on Microcosmos.

Posts from TSWREIS schools

We prepared a feedback questionnaire for the teachers, to know more about their involvement with the foldscope in school activities during the past 1 and a half month; also, to get their opinions and ideas on what kind of activities could derive maximum advantage from foldscopes, to augment concept-based learning in schools.  So, this 1 day workshop was jam-packed with dynamic activities and creative ideas to achieve our goals.  All the volunteers actually interacted one-on-one with the participants and gave ample time to understand the subtle techniques behind foldscope usage.

Here are some snapshots from the foldscope follow-up workshop:

Jayashree addressing the participants
Participating students and teachers
Participating students, teachers and volunteers
Students helping teachers in checking foldscopes.
Fixing a damaged focus ramp!
Ashalatha teaching foldscope assembly to students
Ashalatha interacting with a group of students.
Active students with foldscopes

Here are the links to all the participating schools: Chilkur, Dharmaram B, Gowlidoddi, Isnapur, Kondapur, Mahendra Hills, Mulugu, Narsingi, Shaikpet, Life Sciences College (Mahendra Hills, at Shamirpet).

At the end of the day, we could complete most of the agenda which we had planned (except the live experiments, which we could not include due to time limitation) and got positive comments from the participants that they are now much more comfortable and clear about foldscope usage. A big round of applause should be given to our active volunteers from TCIS, University of Hyderabad and CCMB, who made this workshop a big success.

Thanks to: Somdatta, Ashalatha, Kesavan, Ananya, Sarthak and the Golwdidoddi (Class 9) students.

Debashree and Jayashree

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