Agastya’s mobile labs, or Science-on-Wheels, reach millions of children in remote corners of India’s agricultural heartland, but it isn’t possible to pay frequent visits to every village school. Enter Agastya’s Lab-in-a-Box (LIB). Each one is a treasure chest, packed with all the equipment for making hands-on science experiments a regular part of the school curriculum – even if the Agastya van won’t be returning for a while.
The LIBs all have different themes, with equipment and experiments geared to specific lessons in the school curriculum. The entire set of 12 boxes, containing 133 experiments, covers key concepts in physics, chemistry, biology, and math. Want to learn about the physics of light? The optics lab contains mirrors, lenses, prisms, and other equipment to demonstrate the fundamental principles. A chemistry kit offers lab apparatuses needed to perform simple experiments using safe, common household chemicals. Math labs have hands-on lessons in algebra and geometry, and anatomical models in the biology kit teach children about human physiology.
Participating schools receive each Lab-in-a-Box for a week, and work through the entire set in about three months. Agastya provides intensive training to at least one teacher per school, showing them how to use the models and experiments for teaching. Instructors from Agastya’s mobile lab program give ongoing technical support to the teachers during deployment of the lab kits.
The LIB program extends Agastya’s reach, touching more rural children, longer. More intense instruction becomes possible – greater than ever could be possible through the mobile labs alone. For a fraction of the cost, the LIBs increase Agastya’s outreach, and continue the Agastya experience between the visits of the mobile labs. The effect is not limited to the students. Teachers in the rural schools are Agastya-trained, and become change agents in their schools, sharing knowledge with their students, but also with their colleagues. This raises the level of instruction in local schools, building their capacity to teach more complex topics with newfound confidence.
The Lab-in-a-Box provides children and teachers with the simple tools they need to explore the world and learn together, keeping them on the road to discovery. It extends possibilities associated with the Agastya touch to more children, in more of the rural areas.