Published: 12th October 2020
Why every school kid must visit the Experient Science Lab in Bengaluru
Virendra Paliwal, Founder of Experiment Science Labs, tells us why Science education through experiments matters in changing their perspective towards the subject
When Virendra Paliwal was working at the research lab in Infosys, he realised that there was a lot to be done in the realm of teaching Science through experiments. That's why he went on to establish Experient Science Labs in Bengaluru in 2018. Often referred to as 'state-of-the-art' by Science enthusiasts, this lab is one of a kind. Virendra says, "I have over 22 years of experience of which I have spent over 12 years working at the Infosys Lab, an R&D unit of Infosys. My team and I worked to develop and build some very innovative products. I felt that this kind of teaching that sparks curiosity and a tinkering mentality can make a huge difference in kids. The kind of exposure that children get in Science is very theoretical and the classroom kind. But there are a lot of people who are interested in learning concepts on their own through experiments. That's what we have been encouraging at Experient Science Labs."
What experiments do school and college students get to perform here? From complex to simple ones, students get to see and do every single experiment that they have and will come across in their Physics, Chemistry and Biology textbooks. "The lab is well-equipped such that the samples provided for the experiments can be checked and the results can be produced and analysed immediately. For instance, one needs to wash their hands for 20 seconds to keep them virus-free. For the experiment, we can divide the students into three groups. While one group will wash for 20 seconds, the second group will wash for less than 20 seconds and the third group will not wash their hands at all. We then collect samples from their hands and check the results. This is how we need to teach students. At the Experient Science Labs, we have 350+ experiments for school students and 100+ engineering activities where they can build their own prototype. There are also research projects, which are meant for college students involved in research activities," he explains.
Virendra believes that the method of teaching Science at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is different from other institutes. Hence, he has involved two professors from this institute to mentor him from the academic perspective. He explains, "The reason behind involving IISc professors was their unique method of teaching students and conducting experiments. I ensure to take their inputs regarding the experiments we must do at the lab, the kind of lab set-up we must have and so on. Dr Prabhal Maiti, a Physics Professor at IISc, Dr T V Ramachandra, who has a PhD in Ecology and Energy from IISc and Riad Mohammed, who is the founder of Head Start Educational Academy and provides training to Montessori teachers, are part of our Advisory team. Meanwhile, Atishaya Kumar Saksham, who is a postgraduate from IISc with a major in Earth and Environmental Science, also volunteers to teach students at the Experient Science Labs."
Since the lab is located only in one place - at Sarjapur Road - Virendra wants to expand it to different areas in the city. "While we are catering to both private and government school children, the number is still at a minimum. Since 2018, over 1,500 students have visited our lab but we want to reach out to more. This will also help us answer their queries and kindle the curiosity for Science in their mind," he concludes.