‘Seeing’ what is known and unknown

Young children of Jai Ambe Nagar, a slum near Mankhurd which comes under M Ward, know a lot of microorganisms but they had never seen a living microorganism before. Today that got an opportunity to explore the microscopic world with the help of a low cost paper microscope (foldscope) invented by Professor Manu Prakash. They collected the sewage water sample from their surroundings and observed under Foldscope. They were surprised to see that a drop of water contains so many types of microorganisms. This lead to a debate among the children wether the drinking water will have microorganisms. Some said yes, others said no. Finally they decided to do an experiment. Took few drops of water from the teacher’s water bottle and observed under the foldscope. They could not spot any microorganisms in it. After the experiment, one child happily told the teacher that you can drink the water, it does not have microorganisms. In two hour session children kept exploring different things. Children saw rotifers, bacteria, etc. They also learnt to assemble a foldscope from scratch. The foldscope which they assembled will stay with them so that they can keep observing the microscopic world whenever they want.
Today’s session was conducted by Rafikh Shaikh of TISS and Harita Raval of HBCSE. It was organised by Tuba Khan and Priya Shinde of TISS Mumbai. They work for the Transforming m-ward project which works with local CBOs.

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