MAD Chemistry!

By Vivek Ravindra

A penny for a bunch of wheels,
A penny for grins & zeal’s —
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

I could not help but tweak those lines a bit when I recount what happened over that weekend. If I were to explain it in a line, I’d say blur of smiles merged with the elation of the heart due to the efforts put in by the wonderful team from BASF and others at the Indo-German Mela 2012.

What am I talking about? Well, children from St. Patricks Boys Home and St. Mary’s Boys Home, Bangalore, visited the Indo-German Mela to participate in an interactive chemistry workshop conducted by BASF! It was a 2-day workshop, that was to help the boys gain an insight on various chemical processes and experiments, as well as on the environment and ways through which we can conserve and protect it!

 Our very own MAD Scientists!
Photo Credits: Murali Krishnan

We happened to stumble upon this unique event, and before we knew it, the idea had been pitched, the follow-ups done and the D-day had arrived!

Day 1. Saturday.
The boys from St. Patrick’s, stood in a line, pondering over what they would be doing, when all that uncertainty just vanished at the sight of a huge mannequin of Mr. Bubble! Little did they know that their surprise galore had just started!

Stepping in to the exhibit, the multi-colored liquids on the display just drove the excitement of the boys up and beyond the sky. In no time, they were ready, with their aprons, gloves and goggles on, and one could easily see their eyes skewed with concentration to get the correct concoction. Soon enough, not only had they ‘mastered’ all the processes taught to them, but they were also explained why ‘water’ needs to be conserved. A mini awards ceremony (a surprise element for the kids!), followed by some quick snacks got them up and about in no time.

St. Patrick’s boys at work!
Photo Credits: Murali Krishnan

We then formed groups and covered a variety of topics from the future of aviation travel to touch screen interactive interfaces, from knowing more about Airbus, Siemens, Botch and SAP to ways of conserving water! After a lot of ‘learning’ the boys ran to a graffiti wall – they wanted to get clicked! As the day ended, I found myself wishing my teachers had taken me for something like this!

Day 2. Sunday.
This time, it was the turn of the boys from St. Mary’s. Even though we were a little behind schedule, but their excitement level didn’t dwindle a bit. The first session started with some thought provoking videos. And they worked, for one of the boys came up to me and said, “From now on, I will complain less and do more.” Shocked as I was, I watched them work hard, mixing and soaking all the ‘ingredients’ given to them, till everything looked just right. This time too, they were rewarded for their efforts with badges and certificates.

All fed and watered, all of us then patiently moved across the fair, checking every single thing out! Soon, we were moving from one place to another, learning how to drill holes, save the environment and recycle!

Whoever said you can’t have fun while learning, never tried their hands at chemistry!
Photo Credits: Murali Krishnan

Soon enough, it was time to bid farewell. But the kids, as happy as they were, ran to their teachers, proudly flashing their certificates, extremely ecstatic at having learnt a lot in a fan way! As it turns out, it wasn’t a learning lesson just for our kids, but for us as well. Now we know that more of such activities is the way to make them learn, achieve and prosper much, much more. And that we will :)


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