The visit to the Birla Planetarium was arranged to take a closer look at the Solar system, and to show our geckos how the planetary world looks like. We went the Science museum and Dinosaurium that harbors the archeological remains and collections from the historical/ prehistoric reigns.
Student Actions: We left at 9 am; the Birla planetarium opens its ticket counters for visitors at 10: 30am. Since there was time one of our crew member Mr. Ranjan suggested that we go to the Birla temple nearby. Our Geckos jumped at the opportunity to explore the neighborhood sites. Indeed it was worth the wait. We all took a morning walk towards the temple and while taking the steps to the high hillock temple from where we could see the Tank Bund and The Secretariat. Students wandered around the temple and performed the praying ritual that goes on traditionally at the Hindu temples. I as an instructor was astonished by the open-minded nature in my students. The kids all from diverse religious background participated in the ritual and were discussing the scriptures, mythological deities’ and the pouranik katha the ‘Ramayana’ that was etched on the temple walls.
As the doors to the planetarium opened students couldn’t wait to get in, curiously and anxiously browsing the exhibits of the museum. Excavations from different regions of the state were displayed at the gallery. Geckos explored every inch of the museum that houses several unique and rare collectables like paintings, coins, sculptures made of rocks, wood, iron, bronze, porcelain, ivory and other materials etc. Overall there was a wide range of collectables from local regions to global regions such as Germany, France, London, Turkey, China, Japan etc. Inside the Planetarium, we were seated very comfortably reclining to look at the dome shaped auditorium. The auditorium was pitch black and all of a sudden the dome was lit by small sparkling stars. There was WOW from all Geckos as they watched the clear black sky lit with tons of starts and the narrator started talking about the planets, constellations, meteorites and specifically about the planets Mars and Saturn. The narrator gave a glimpse of the space technology centers mission to Mars.
Learning outcomes: The show at the planetarium was spectacular. Geckos were excited to watch the planets. They could relate to the zodiac signs and how those look in the sky and where to look for mars and other constellations. The ‘Mangalyaan’ (Journey to Mars) and the ‘mars rovers’ captured their attention the most. They took pride by the fact that our country India has launched its satellite ‘Mangalyaan’ into the Mars orbit. They gained a lot of information on NASA mission to explore the planet Mars. For instance they were excited to know about Mars Rovers “Pathfinder, Opportunity and Curiosity” robots that were sent on the planet to study the Martian climate, physical features, etc. Geckos learnt that Mars might have had similar features to earth (like river valleys, craters, mountains etc.) and scientist are investigating if life ever existed on it and if so what has happened to the planet and possibilities of restoring it back to life. After the show our Geckos developed a keen interest to know more on space research programs. The second attraction of the visit was the display of large “Dinosaur” in the Dinosaurium. This display was a myth buster to our students who thought that Dinosaurs are fiction (in movies only) or once existed only in Africa. But these remains were found in our state from ‘Adilabad’ district was a surprising fact. The students also appreciated the artistic creativity of the excavated stone sculptures that came from their own regions. They realized that our countries past was truly filled with very rich culture and heritage. Our geckos also gained information on the history of Hussain Sagar the main water body of our city that was built on the tributary of Musi river and the Birla temple that was built entirely with pure white marble stone by Birla foundation on the top of Naubath Pahad. New vocabulary was introduced to them during the trip like ‘observatory, conservatory, archeology, anthropology, meteorites, milky way, galaxy, space, and telescope’. It was fun and enriching education experience.
Facilitator: Mrs. Deepthi Pulicherla
Event co-ordinator: Mrs. Mitali Joshi