Magadi days

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Platonic Solids : Senior School Project, 2015

Platonic Solids Project

During the first term of this year (2015-16), the A-level Mathematics students (ages 15-17) studied the convex and non-convex regular polyhedra. The convex polyhedra are known as Platonic solids and the non-convex polyhedra are known as Kepler-Poinsot solids.DSC_2741

Platonic solids, also called the ‘regular solids’, are three-dimensional geometric solids. Their faces are all congruent regular polygons, such as triangles or squares and the same number of polygons meet at each vertex. Interestingly there are only five such Platonic solids: the tetrahedron, octahedron, icosahedron, cube and dodecahedron. This result was known from the time of the ancient Greeks and Euclid proved it in his famous book the Elements.

Two of the non-convex polyhedra were first discovered by Kepler DSC_2735in 1619 and are known as the small stellated dodecahedron and large stellated dodecahedron. Their duals, the great dodecahedron and the great icosahedron were discovered in 1809 by Louis Poinsot.

Students studied the properties of these solids. They understood what duality means and they learned the proof (both Euclid’s method and the one using Euler characteristic) that there are only five Platonic solids. We are yet to learn why there are only 4 Kepler-Poinsot polyhedra. They made models using nets and origami.

This project culminated in an unusual fashion parade in our morning assembly!

~ Shashidhar

Motaganahalli : Middle School Project, 2015

Ashwathas in Motaganahalli 5Meetings in Motaganahalli

During the early monsoon months of 2015, our eleven and twelve year-olds spent a term making several trips to Motaganahalli,  a large medieval village fifteen minutes north of CFL.

The students were keen to learn about life in this large village close to the school. Their exploration began with questions:

How can we get to know our neighbourhood, its history, its current story, its people and spaces?

A very real and immediate way was to take a walk. And this is what we did. As we moved through the streets and by-lanes of Motaganahalli, we were drawn to various aspects of life: houses, different types of shops, a variety of occupations, religious buildings, and water sources.

The children talked to people they met. Initial conversations led them to meet even more people, within and outside homes and at work places.We set up interviews with particular people.Very soon, we had spoken to the temple priest, the mill owner, a power loom operator,a  madrassa teacher, and two elderly people.

In this process came in discussions about the difference between fact and opinion  Students were able to discuss and understand different kinds of evidence and information, primary and secondary.

Ashwathas in Motaganahalli 3We talked about caste and access to resources, such as water and electricity.  We talked about the presence of gender bias. We discussed the impact of  mechanisation of labour and about what
“development” means.

We formed affectionate relationships with people we met. We returned to share the booklets that we made, based on people’s stories and on our own research using secondary sources.

One of the children asked why Motaganahalli had not become a city. This offered a perfect segue into the question of what creates a city.and therefore a great opening to explore  the origins of Bangalore city, which most of the children inhabit. We read about the early years of Bangalore as a commercial settlement. and made a trip to the centre of the city. We learned about the history of this region as we went on a walk from Tipu’s Palace, past the old fort and towards the petes of City Market, where tradespeople continue to live.

Here we met the owner, an uncle of a student, of a herb shop which has been running for two generations in this location. It was interesting to hear from him about trade in the pete.

We are thankful to Meera Iyer of INTACH who volunteered her time and was a well of information and stories about Tipu’s place and Bangalore fort. This really brought the trip alive for us.

~ Nagini

Conference 2015

Centre For Learning hosted a conference on the theme “Worlds of Fear: School Cultures”, from 12th to 15th December 2015, on our campus. The programme included formal talks, small group discussions, presentations by schools and plenty of unstructured time for conversations and walks. Over the four days of the conference, committed and passionate speakers shared their ideas on our theme in the context of philosophy, cognitive studies, history, sociology and school practices. More than a hundred participants from a variety of educational contexts will attend this conference.

For more information about the conference, visit the Conference 2015 mini-site, or read the conference materials.

On Boti Betta, 2013

Many of the frequented rock assemblies in our vicinity have been named by CFL children. It doesn’t take very long before a “new” haunt gets “named”. And whatever the name and however clear or curious its association with a place, the name comes to stay.

So nearby we have Cake Rock and Caterpillar Rock and Owl Rock. On the northern horizon, almost always in view, lies Bermuda Triangle. Also to the north is Mallige Betta, with its wild jasmine. These landmark rocks are often destinations for walks.

Boti Betta or Boti-like rock rises abruptly up from the scrubby land. A scramble up brings you to a lovely table top. Here you will find small rock pools, clumps of grass, ferns tucked under rock faces and a cold breeze. It is a lovely perch from which you can gaze out far in all directions. The story goes that while on a walk, children were munching tube shaped crisps called “botis”. They climbed up this yet un-named rock and decided to call it Boti Betta.

Our eleven and twelve year-old Palashas recently spent a long morning on Boti Betta. Most of the time was theirs to spend as they pleased. They had prepared a picnic breakfast, which they graciously served. They then convened in a circle to play a silent a game on the rocktop, séance-like.

And then they dispersed to their own spots from where they sketched, holding their pieces of paper down, lest they fly away.

Savandurga, our elephantine monolith, loomed in the southwest. It was named before our time. Its name is said to have various origins. One suggestion is that it was named after the Vijaynagara governor, Samantdurga. Another thought is that the artist Robert Home, who drew this rock from a distance in 1794, named it Savinadurga, fort of death.

Our Palashas, as they sat in their silent circle on Boti Betta, were beautifully placed against all of these Ancient Rocks: Mallige Betta, Bermuda Triangle and Savandurga.

~ Diba

The Tamalas In The Magadi Goat Market, 2013

On a cool billowy Friday morning, the Tamalas, our ten year-olds, found themselves in the midst of goats and sheep and vans and people, dodging mud puddles at the Weekly Animal Bazaar.

This was the final trip as part of their Magadi History Project. The earlier trips had been to successively larger settlements, starting with Varadenhalli, where CFL is located and then to Motaganahalli, a village of a thousand homes, ten minutes by road. The visits had given the children a chance to look and listen and to gain a sense of lives around us. Back at school, they recounted their time. They talked aloud about what they had seen and learned. They classified their observations into groups such as homes, water, animals, work. They asked questions about each group, they compared aspects of the two villages. They asked themselves about change in this area in the last fifty years. They wrote down their descriptions, comparisons and theories.

The Magadi Trip was dramatic. It was Friday Market Day. The streets were full. Vegetable sellers sitting on the roadside, goat muzzles on the pavement, chickens and ducks packed into a tight coop. Potsellers, flower sellers. And the Friday Goat Market, on the vast premises of Kempegowda’s Fort grounds. After being in this busy midst, we spent a quiet half an hour at the peaceful Someshwara temple. We have been here over the years, and this time, it was heartening to see that it is now under the care of the Karnataka Archaeology Department.

The children came away both with very graphic observations and descriptions as well as with questions. Here is a sampling:

You don’t have to grow lots of vegetables to sell them. You can set up a small vegetable stall on a plastic sheet and sell what you have.

How can you tell how deep a step well is? Oh, you can just look at it and follow the slope of the steps all the way down.

Why do people sell goats? And what do people do with the goats they buy? They need the money. But people who buy goats also need the money. They can sell the goats again, they can sell the milk. They can wait for more baby goats and sell those.

The artists who carved the sculptures at the Someshwara temple were both very skilled and very patient.

Apart from being in the midst of goats and flowers and earthen pots, the children saw that even a very small farmer, who may grow vegetables behind her house, can set up a small shop on the pavement. They found out, to their surprise, that the vegetables we eat and school come from these very Magadi angadis, big and small.

~ Diba

CFL Newsletter 2014

It seems so very trite to state that we humans approach our world with moral stances. Obviously, these stances, or rather nuggets of attitudes, moral tastes, make up the very core of our being. Philosophers have argued over the ages that they constitute the essence of what it means to be human. Yet our moral anchors are also deeply problematic. When my sense of what is right clashes with yours, in any realm, conflict ensues. Moral anchors can be interpreted as what may bind us together within communities, but also, and to a greater extent, what divides us as nations, religions, castes and ultimately as individuals.

Read about this and more, in our latest newsletter, Issue 20!

Banana Fibre Workshop, 2014

The middle schoolers from Varadenahalli school and CFL were happy participants in a banana fibre workshop. Friends from Sirsi:  Vidya, Nirmala and Premila, conducted the workshop. In Sirsi, they are part of an organization, Chetana, which works with children and young adults with special needs. Six adults at Chetana have taught around thirty young people the art of making stationery and boxes with waste paper and banana fibre.

Together, they spend the day in song, movement and craft. We were all impressed by the precision and neatness of the work and the finish. Our younger ones insisted on attending assembly, the next day, with their lovely banana boxes by their sides.

~ Diba

Fantastic Funny Flip Friends, 2014

Flip-bookHere is a flip book made by our seven to nine year-olds as part of a Library Project.

There are innumerable ways of opening this book. Each page may have three authors and three illustrators.  You can actually compose your own page!

Here are some of the one-sentence accounts you may find:

Kaki the happy white and brown monkey
laughed so loud that she fell off the tree branch on
grey wonder rock.

Fantastic Funny Flip FriendsLarge eyed Lata, the slow slender loris
Laughed so loud that she fell off the tree branch
In the pond filled with mosquito larvae and frogs.

Tilley the cucumber-eating goat
Walks around
In the lush green gardens around the
Junior School at C.F.L.
In Varadenahalli.

Come find a story sentence in Fantastic Funny Flip Friends, now on the Library Projects shelf in our Library!

Diba