Published: 01st June 2020
Learn Physics hands-on from this Bhubaneswar-based pro and the practical experiments he devised
No one can teach Physics like Satwik Das but with the help of the practical models he has developed, you might come close. He calls this venture Jigyasu and he is ready to take it all around India
Physics was the Mount Everest I knew I could never scale, so I barely bothered trying to understand it or cared just enough to make it past the finish line. It may sound funny now, but it was certainly scary back then and I know I am not alone when it comes to how I feel about Physics. So, when I spoke to Satwik Das and listened to him explain about the Physics models he has developed to teach concepts like angular speed, gyroscope and so on, I instantly wished that I had a Physics teacher with as much passion for the subject as this teacher had. The students at his coaching centre The Physics Centre - opposite DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur in Bhubaneswar - are certainly lucky in this aspect.
They have a space at The Physics Centre equipped with a 3D printer, laser cutter, metal, wood, plastic and so on where these models get made
This IIT Kharagpur alumnus, who pursued a five-year integrated course in Physics, was working at Career Launcher, a coaching centre in Delhi, before he chose to return to his hometown of Bhubaneswar and start The Physics Centre in 2010. "I realised that the way we teach at coaching centres is useful for only a handful of students and I wanted to change that," explains Satwik and adds, "Physics is about the physical world. We give examples and quickly move to equations. Though we try to make students visualise the concept verbally, not every student has the capability to imagine and once they lose the mental picture, they fall into a black hole." To prevent this from happening, he started bringing small experiments to class. Why? "When students see images, it sits in their head and gives them context, which makes it easier for them to understand," he shares. Today, he has created 400 such models with his group of students and calls the initiative Jigyasu, which means 'curious' in Hindi.
Wave generator | (Pic: Jigyasu)
"No Science can happen without observation and unfortunately, observations have disappeared from our classrooms," points out Satwik who pursued his Master's in Theoretical Physics from the University of Amsterdam. These models are his way of bringing back observations. And the immediate effect of using these models he has created is the widening of the students' eyes. It also helps him retain their attention and helps the students retain the concept, a win-win situation overall. Just before the lockdown was declared, he even took these practical models to schools in Bhubaneswar and Delhi to propose the concept of Science Studios. These are spaces in schools where his models will be deployed along with a demonstrator.
I don't want to sell the models individually online because that's not how one changes the learning pattern en masse. We need to take them to schools, says Satwik Das
Wondering what these famed models we have been talking about are exactly? Well, we were saving the best for last. When a ballerina performs a pirouette (spins on one foot), whenever her arms are stretched out, she automatically slows down and when her arms come in, her pace quickens. This is nothing but angular speed. This is demonstrated by placing a stool on a rotating platform. A child sits on the stool and is handed dumbbells. Whenever the child pulls the dumbbells towards themself, their pace increases. This concept is thus seared into the child's memory. What a cool way to learn!
What kind of models do they offer?
- Demonstrative: Ones which students can look at
- Tinkering: Ones which students tinker with and learn from on their own
- Application-based: Ones which improve their critical thinking
- Explore and learn: Ones which trigger curiosity
Some of the practical experiments
For more on them, check out jigyasu.co.in