Innovation and Science Promotion Foundation (ISPF) based in Bangalore is a non-profit trust focused on fostering innovation and scientific temper, especially amongst children. ISPF’s focus is on creating experience-based learning opportunities where science can be learnt through hands-on and interactive experiences that inspire children to tinker with things, learn to be curious and develop a scientific temper. Drawing on the work done by pioneers such as Arvind Gupta in science toys, ISPF curates learning modules and kits based on science toys which parents and teachers can use with children. They have also been conducting workshops using these toys at schools and other establishments for students, teachers, and parents. ISPF’s work available under the Creative Commons Attribution License, allowing anyone to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon their work.
ISPF started its first such science lab in a school, as a pilot, at The Valley School, Bangalore. They are currently in the process of establishing such science centres in other schools in Bangalore.
ISPF is working with schools to establish science toy labs in schools and helping schools integrate these into their regular science teaching and learning process. They are setting up spaces in schools (called Rancho Labs) where children can make and tinker with science toys and explore, observe, experiment and theorize to explain what they see, in short, ‘do’ science. Teachers are trained to make the toys and ISPF provides teachers making instructions, explanation of the principles behind the toys and worksheets on the concepts involved. ISPF also aims to work with teachers to help them understand the concepts and work out strategies to help children discover these principles and concepts through questioning and dialog in classrooms.
After organizing toy-making workshops for teachers from the various schools interested in this initiative, ISPF is currently focusing on implementing the program in 2 schools. The work in these schools will help ISPF evolve the processes of engagement with the schools and systematize the intervention. Once this is achieved, ISPF is planning to expand the program to more schools. They also plan to develop modules and methods to help teachers initiate classroom discussions to help students discover/understand the principles and concepts behind the toys.