Friday, October 8, 2010

RAFT: Resource Area for Teaching

Did you know? A bamboo pole and the stem of a papaya leaf are excellent  for teaching how waterfall-energy can be transformed into electrical-energy. I was about 8 years old when during heavy monsoon season, my father first taught us how to harness rainwater into a waterfall using a bamboo pole (its hollow). The water then falls onto a turbine made with papaya leaf stems (the texture is firm yet pliable enough to stick flat-panes into it) which would go whirring about whenever it rained. We could never get enough of it! And I did not even know this was a science lesson.
I was reminded of this story when I visited RAFT - a local bay area resource for teachers (I found out about them as they were there for National Lab Day along with HP) to support STEM education. They use materials discarded by industry to create the lessons. One activity I liked was a car made from retractable badges and discarded CDs - shown in pic. But I couldn't help comparing: bamboo and papaya vs discs and badges! How times have changed! But science education hasn't - its still about engaging young minds to make it fun and relevant.

No comments: