National workshop of Utsahi Physics teachers (NWUPT)-2016

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in School News | Comments Off

NWUPT is a nation-wide workshop organised annually for teachers of Physics at IIT, Kanpur. It orients them to teach the subject through activity, to enable students to make better connections with the theoretical aspect of the subject. The workshop was held between 22nd and 27th May 2016.

22nd May:
 The workshop started at 9:30 am with registration and then a brief inauguration, with our guides for the next few days, Dr. H.C. Verma, Professor, IIT Kanpur, Mr. Indernil Manil, Director, IIT Kanpur, Mr. Ravender Dhar, Scientist Material Sciences, Nasi Allahabad and Dr. B.N. Das, fmr Professor, Presidency College, Calcutta.
 The inauguration included a lamp lighting ceremony. This was then followed by a devotional piece soulfully sung by the children of the Siksha Sopan Ashram. Shiksha Sopan is a non-governmental organisation which imparts value-based education to the economically weaker sections of society. Many of its activities are conducted in and around the lush-green campus of IIT, Kanpur. Shiksha Sopan’s philosophy stands upon the three pillars of Shiksha, Sanskar, and Swavalamban.
 The dignitaries addressed the gathering comprising of about 40 teachers from across the country. Mr. Indernil Manil, in his opening speech, highlighted the importance of Physics’ teachers as they get to regularly interact with young minds.
 Dr. Verma spoke about Anveshika, an initiative that aims to create centres across India, in schools and colleges, so that students and teachers can together indulge in experiment-based Physics to test concepts. Started in 2001 at the Saraswati Gyan Mandir Inter College, Kanpur, the project has expanded and since January 2016, established 22 Anveshikas across the country under the aegis of the National Anveshika Network of India (NANI).
 Next, teachers introduced themselves and some even shared their expectations. Later, they were taken to the Siksha Sopan Ashram where they got to see how successfully this ashram uses energy efficient systems such as solar energy panels and rain water harvesting.

23rd May:
The next day, Dr. Verma introduced the apparatus of classroom experiments-1 and explained their aim and method. The session was interactive and almost every participant was involved in the discussions that followed. A detailed write-up of all the experiments was given to the participants. After the demo session, participants performed the experiments themselves under the guidance of resource persons.

1. To study variation in the density of water at different temperatures, using a beaker, hot and cold water, an electronic balance and a syringe. We observed that density of water decreases with increasing temperature.
2. Oscillations of a balloon: A system oscillates if it has a stable equilibrium position. This experiment demonstrated the dependence of oscillation frequency on elastic properties in a nonconventional system.
3. Human foot pendulum: Let a person sit on a table and oscillate his/her legs at the knee joint. Measure the time for 10 oscillations using a mobile stop watch. This experiment can be used to study and compare the time duration of a simple pendulum and a physical pendulum.
4. Black bodies radiate more heat: This experiment gives a qualitative comparison of the heat radiated by both a black surface and a shining surface. For this, an electric iron painted black on half its surface and left in its original shining state on the other half, is used. Switch on the iron and place two thermometers, one in front of the black surface and the other in front of the shiny surface at the same distance and then note down the two temperatures.

5. Temperature of ice-salt mixture: Vendors freeze ‘kulfi’ in ice-salt mixture. Normally, when two objects are mixed, the temperature of the mixture is an intermediate between the temperatures of the two objects. But this does not happen in an ice-salt mixture. In an ice-salt mixture, the more salt you add to the mixture, the lower the temperature becomes.

While demonstrating the experiments, Dr. Verma also taught participants how to put across questions to students based on logical and mathematical reasoning to help them think ‘out of the box’.

24th May :
The first session was taken by Dr. H C Verma on ‘unrealistic numericals’ which often crop up when framing questions in Physics. He offered solutions on how to deal with them.
Next, there was a HANDS ON session, wherein participants performed experiments based on the curricula of classes XI and XII.

Diffraction from CD/DVD: CDs/DVDs have a spiral structure on which grooves at regular levels act as grating. If monochromatic light falls on this, we get a diffraction pattern.

Coin vanishing under a glass of water: Keep a coin on a table with an empty beaker over it. If we view it from the side of the beaker, then we are able to see it. Now, pour water into the beaker and try to look at it from the side of the beaker. We will not be able to see the coin. This is based on refraction and total internal reflection. As the light from the coin travels from the glass to the water, total internal reflection takes place.

Divergent beam through a water bottle: A cylindrical bottle, filled with water acts as a converging lens. Using a torch, focus a parallel beam on the bottle. We can find the focal length of the bottle.

Next, a highly enriching session on GRAVITATIONAL WAVES was conducted by Dr. Surantha from IIT, Kanpur. It highlighted the discovery of gravitational waves, ripples in the fabric of space-time that were first anticipated by Albert Einstein a century ago. The phenomenon detected was the collision of two black holes. Using the world’s most sophisticated detector, the scientists listened for 20 thousandths of a second as the two giant black holes, one 35 times the mass of the sun, the other slightly smaller, circled around each other. Gravitational waves carry completely different information about phenomena in the universe, opening a new way of listening to a broadcasting channel which will allow us to discover phenomena we have never seen before.

Demonstration by participants: All the participating teachers were given a chance in the evening to demonstrate their exhibits which were discussed and explained by Dr. Verma. The activities demonstrated by Ms. Archana Raichandani and her partner, Ms. Suruchi Aggarwal were related to the topic ‘Bernoulli’s Theorem’ and ‘Pressure’.

25th May:
 Dr. B.N. Das demonstrated a few experiments and then gauged the participants’ understanding in a short quiz.
The activities were related to topics such as:
• Demonstration of diffraction pattern using 2 strands of hair to form a ’slit’ and laser beam.
• Homo polar motor using a battery, magnet and spiral coil.
• Why a balloon filled with air goes up in a haphazard manner, when released due to differences in pressure.
• Explanation of rotation of an angular straw, when air is blown into it.

 Next, we proceeded to a lab to conduct informal lab activities. These were somewhat extended experiments to be conducted outside the classroom. A write-up on the theory, description and discussion of each experiment was circulated to the participants with a work-book. Participants were asked to complete these experiments, take the appropriate reading and do explicit calculations in about 30 to 40 minutes, based on the following concepts:
• Making a spring of varying length and finding its spring constant, using k=mg/l. Then verifying the variation of k with the length of the spring.
• Resistance of a bulb: calculation using (P=V2/R) and then using a multimeter.
• To study the force of interaction between two magnets by varying the distance between them.
• Time period of a pendulum: Using a hollow ball and a sand filled ball of length equal to radius R and 3R. Noting the time for 20 oscillations and calculating its time period.
• Damping of a bicycle wheel: Keeping a cycle in an inverted position and fixing the angle measuring chart on it, so that the coloured spoke reads Ꝋ = 00 while in equilibrium. Rotating the wheel to bring it to Ꝋ = π/2 and then releasing it. Noting the time of different oscillations and calculating its angular velocity.
• Interference of sound: Using 2 audio speakers kept at a distance of 50-60 cm, a frequency generator (1 KHZ) and a stethoscope to detect the variation in the intensity of sound to feel interference.

Power point presentation on granular molecules: Granular Molecules are a collection of discrete microscopic solid particles like sand, stone, ball bearings etc. Discussion on occultation of the moon: Occultation occurs when a solar-system body passes in front of a more distant object, partially or totally hiding it and blocking its light. Such observations are useful in refining knowledge of the position and motion of stars and can be used to improve parameters such as the tilt of the equator relative to the rotation of the Milky Way galaxy.


26th May:

 The day started with very exciting mathematical puzzles by Dr. H.C. Verma. He selected 6 participants from 39, on the basis of their skill to solve puzzles in a given time frame. The six participants were then divided into three teams. Next, Dr. Verma conducted a quiz based on the periodic table. Here Ms. Geetika Pandey from Team Delhi was declared the winner.
 In the next session, Dr. Verma and DR. B. N. Das discussed in detail, the concepts applied to the various experiments he had shown the previous day.
 After lunch, we were given a demonstration on how to create a low cost microscope, followed by a hands-on session in the lab, in which every participant was provided with a kit to build their own microscope. This was then used to measure the wavelength of light.
 A group photograph and a cultural event by the students of the Siksha Sopan Ashram brought the curtains down on the fruitful day.

27th May:
 Visit to Anveshika centre :
• The visit proved fruitful. The models demonstrating amplitude modulation, vector addition using a combination of springs, relative velocity, S.H.M etc., were very noteworthy.

 Closing ceremony :
• Most participants shared very emotionally, their feedback of the workshop and their plan of action forthwith. The teachers expressed their extreme satisfaction on the skills they had acquired. Many of them even said that they had ‘rediscovered themselves’!
• Participants also appreciated the efforts of Shiksha Sopan for spreading education amongst the underprivileged. As a token, they handed over a small sum, collected from all the participants, to Dr. H.C. Verma.
• Dr. Verma, in his final speech, emphasised the important role teachers play in motivating students and expressed satisfaction on the enthusiasm shown by participants. Certificates of participation were distributed to mark the closing of the workshop.

Ms. Archana Raichandani.

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