Mobile planetarium helps ignite love for astronomy among schoolchildren

Vans of Tare Zameen Par.

Chennai: These days, anything can come to our doorstep with just a click. From Flipkart to Swiggy, several sites deliver products to our home. But very few firms offer doorstep educational services. Enter Tare Zameen Par, a digital mobile planetarium run by Varnaaz Technologies. This start-up is kindling the interest of students in astronomy. Being just a phone call away, the mobile planetarium travels on a van and comes to institutions to conduct educational sessions.

STARS ON WHEELS

Founder Dinesh Badagandi told News Today, “As I studied in a government school, I understand the struggles faced by students.”

“I always wanted to do something for the rural communities,” adds Dinesh who worked for an institute and found that many didn’t know basic science.

This gave him the idea to run an educational start-up. He proudly adds that his firm has tied up with an American company.

Dinesh then speaks about the mobile van. “Our van has an inflatable dome. So, when it expands it becomes a hemispherical dome and children can sit inside.”

He adds, “The projector is then placed inside the dome and films on astronomy are played.”

The van also includes an LED TV that is connected to a generator. “We have a set of other planetarium equipment and science kits which can be used to do over a 100 experiments,” explains Dinesh.

Students enjoying a visual session inside the dome of the van.

SHOWTIME

Dinesh explains how a session is organised. “We have two programmes. One is that we partner with government schools and we never charge them,” he says. “The second programme is that we work along with companies as part of their CSR activities.”

He adds in detail about the programmes they organise in schools. “We call it science Utsav. We take the van to a school, set up the screen and play science videos like basics of astronomy. We also give an introduction about a planetarium. These shows run for 30 to 40 minutes,” he says.

“Children then go through various experiments depending upon their age group. We even give them talk on careers they can pursue after their 12th grade.”

QUICK REACH

Tare Zameen Par doesn’t focus only on space science but also covers wildlife, history, biology to name a few. “We even teach human anatomy,” says Dinesh.

He feels that not many firms are aware of his start-up. “This is a fantastic way for companies who wish to spend on rural education,” adds Dinesh.

The mobile planetarium van can also be tracked by using an application developed by the start-up. Interested firms or institutions can track it live and schedule a visit or cancel a session. The app is also equipped with pre-installed science videos. “The videos will help teachers understand concepts better,” adds Dinesh.

TOUCHING LIVES

There are about six vans totally that have benefited over three lakh students across 25 districts in Karnataka. Dinesh also expresses his goals to reach more students in Tamilnadu. For details, visit www.tarezameenpar.com

Mohammed Rayaan