Start-up in Chennai simplifies aeronautics

What happens when a bunch of aeronautical engineers and theatre artistes get together for teaching science? Well, some unforgettable lessons on aeronautics happen.

Science is usually not a favourite subject among school-going students, but children who attended the Air Science workshop conducted by Vaayusastra Aerospace – an IIT-M RTBI incubated start-up – say otherwise. They have come to love science.

These students recently had their ‘Graduation day’ for successfully completing the three-month-long workshop. The event was held at IIT-M Research Park, Taramani, and the chief guests were Space Scientist Jayakumar Venkatesan and former managing director of TTK Prestige Group and mentor of IIT Incubation cell, Ravichandran.

Jagadeesh Kanna, who is the founder and CEO of Vaayusastra Aerospace, says, “Our aim is to create awareness on aeronautics. We held a three-month workshop with the first batch, and around 150 students under the age categories 5-7, 8-10 and 11-14 participated in it. They got to learn the basics of the subject incorporated with their curriculum. Our syllabus is stitched as per their curriculum combining the one provided in NASA website. We scripted the stories around those concepts.”

The classes were designed to learn basic science concepts such as air, density and pressure from the aeronautical perspective. “Instead of just theory, we teach in the way a story is told. This is a new, or you can say an alternative, way of teaching. We have theatre artists and an aeronautical engineer in the classroom. The artist would enact a story which has the lesson embedded into it,” he explains.

The students underwent 12 sessions in around 18 hours, which were handled by eight aeronautical engineers and 20-plus theatre artists. “They were taught parts of an airplane, how it flies and a little bit of its history. Since the students are learning the concepts through stories, they will never forget it and would grasp it easily. Apart from this, the students were also made to make a science model, and whatever was learnt they got to implement it practically.”

Next, they are planning to start astronauts basic workshop for children in the age group of 5-14, and it is being done for the first time in India! They also have plans to launch a balloon satellite and incorporate dance while teaching science. “Our students and their parents are happy with this unique way of teaching,” Jagadeesh assures.

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