Posts from the ‘National Children Science Congress 2013’ Category

What type of project should be taken up in NCSC 2013

What type of project should be taken up

You can select any project you like, which can be related to the main theme of the Congress. However, there are problems, study of which needs sophisticated equipments and continuous efforts for a long time. Projects on such problems are generally taken up in research laboratories, universities and colleges. A project to be done by children in NCSC need to be completed within a short span of time (3-6 months), and done with the limited knowledge they have on the topic.

So, a children’s project cannot and should not be compared to a project by senior scientists carried out with sophisticated techniques and lot of study materials.

Every two years a focal theme at the national level is selected for the Children’s Science Congress. Such a theme encompasses a lot of sub-themes. The themes and sub-themes are always related to the society and the environment we live in.

Your topic should fall within one of the sub-themes (Please refer to this year’s information brochure on NCSC) and have a direct relevance to the society and the environment. The project should be such that it is within your capabilities and fits into your time frame. Remember that this project is an extra-curricular activity you are getting involved in and so this should always be done in spare time only (may be during the summer vacation). Studying regular books etc. still remains your prime duty. NCSC never advocates your spending valuable time on this project alone, as you know, NCSC is an effort to inculcate scientific temperament amongst all through experiments and experience. Keeping this in mind, select an apparently small yet relevant local problem and concentrate on finding out ways to solve it. In fact, there is nothing called ‘a small problem’ irrespective of whatever it needs to be studied in the laboratory with sophisticated equipment or not. It will be helpful to adopt simple experiments to analyse the different aspects of the problem instead of resorting only to survey and observations.

In broad sense, the projects for the National Children’s Science Congress can be divided into two categories­
(a) Survey based and
(b) Experiment based

(a) Survey Based Project: There are two types of Survey Based Projects. In the first type, data collection is carried out with the help of questionnaire associated with the project topic. For example, a project related to expansion of education in a particular locality or community. In the second type, data collection is carried out directly from the specimen or specimens involved with the project topic. For example, you are going to survey on different species of local fish present in different water bodies in a particular region. In this case, you will have to collect the names of species of local fishes either by directly inspecting the water bodies or from the fisherman and experts.

Majority of the projects undertaken by our child scientists are of the two types as mentioned above. In the second type of survey-based projects, although a scientific inference could be drawn, it depends on the perseverance and minute observation capability of the child scientist. In the first type of survey-based projects, number based data are more prevalent than scientific data. Thus, this type of projects lead to some relatively acceptable social conclusion instead of proper scientific inference. Such projects have little role to play in finding the scientific and logical solution of a problem. From our previous experience, we have been observing that some of the child scientists had asked absurd and unscientific questions as – “Do you have mango trees in your home garden? Do you have flower garden in your home? Is your village street a paved one?” etc., during door to door survey. The answers of such questions could be directly obtained by observation instead of questioning. However, survey may be essential for certain projects related to topics like, vanishing indigenous technologies of a race or community; diminishing scientific attitude of the people of a locality, etc. Similarly, for collecting the local names of certain plants, fishes or other organism, questionnaire based survey may be required.

Nevertheless, one should always remember that survey can help only to take practical measures or to scientifically analyse the problems of a project. It is difficult to accomplish a true scientific project only through survey.

(b) Experiment Based Project: Experiment based projects are different from survey based projects. In this type of projects instead of collecting data from individuals or organisations; these are acquired directly from experiments carried out by child scientists in a laboratory or in field conditions. The primary aim of NCSC is to build up scientific attitude along with the development of the knowledge of the scientific study among the children of our country. Therefore, more emphasis has been given or experiment based projects. Consequently, it necessitates to give a detail discussion on the methodology of experiment based project.

For conducting an experiment based project, one has to adopt the existing universal procedure, which consists of the following seven steps.

  1. Observation
  2. Questioning
  3. Formulation of hypothesis
  4. Testing
  5. Collection of data
  6. Analysis of data
  7. Conclusion or inference

The projects undertaken for NCSC have also to be completed through the above mentioned steps. However, documentation of the project should be done according to certain standard rules, which is necessary to maintain a uniform standard throughout the country.

The problem associated with your project has been referred to as the “phenomenon” as mentioned above. In the first step you have to observe carefully the problem or the “phenomenon”. The second step comprises of formulating legitimate questions as to the occurrence of that phenomenon. After considering all the probable reasons a hypothesis regarding the phenomenon is developed. Then the hypothesis is subjected to tests or experiments. Sometime you may have to change the hypothesis, if it cannot be established with the help of experiments or tests. In such a case, you have to develop a new hypothesis, which is again subjected to separate tests or experiments.

The data acquired from the results of the tests or experiments are then analysed. Finally, a conclusion or inference is drawn from the analysis of the data. The conclusion or inference also helps to derive the solutions of the problems of the concerned project.

Let us consider an imaginary project to illustrate the above mentioned procedure. The child scientist of this project has noticed that the leaf tips of majority of the plants of their garden have been dried. The disease has been particularly severe in case of newly formed leaves (observation stage). Why it has happened? What are the probable reasons of the disease? On seeking the answers to the above questions, the group considered three probable reasons as the causes of the disease (hypothesis).

  1. Pest attack
  2. Fluctuation of soil pH
  3. Deficiency of mineral nutrient.

To ascertain the exact reason the child scientist then conducted a set of experiments. At first, he applied pesticides on the diseased plants. After a few days he observed that the disease has not been cured. Therefore, he cancelled the first probable reason. Then he tested the soil pH, which showed that there has not been any significant fluctuation of soil pH. Thus, he concluded that the second probable reason is also not applicable.

To test the third probable reason he selected two diseased plants present at two opposite ends of the garden. In one of the plants he applied NPK fertilizer while in the second one he applied a mixture of trace elements (mineral nutrient). After a few days he observed that the second plant began to produce healthy leaves without dried leaf tips. Thus from the experiments he concluded that observed disease was caused by deficiency of a particular mineral element.

NCSC 2013: What to do???

What you have to do

To do a project firstly you have to make a group of five children from the age group of 10 to 17 years. Select an important and significant issue of your area, which may also be a problem, based on the focal theme as the topic of your work. The team is to be guided either by their teacher, any expert or the likes. The team narrows down on a local problem falling under the focal theme as decided for the year. Under the focal theme, which continues for a period of two years, there are sub-themes that helps the child scientists to correlate the problem or study area selected. You should be sure why you have selected this topic. Try to find out the causes and interrelationships. Minute observation of the issue is a must. Collect relevant data, through experiments/survey. Analyse the results methodically and try to find out a solution.

The CSC project work is carried out within a well-demarcated local geographical area. The project title should be self-explanatory about the problem taken up. The activities carried out under the CSC project should be recorded date-wise in a well-maintained log book. These activities are either survey or observation or experiment-based or a combination of all of these.

Proper designing of the experiment or properly framed questionnaire for survey based work are the starting points of the project. Collection of the data either as responses or observations should be done meticulously. Data collected should be sufficient enough to be scientifically validated. Data so collected is analyzed using appropriate scientific and mathematical methods. Conclusions are then drawn from the analyzed data and inferences are made thereafter.

Action plan for follow-up is also expected as a part of the CSC project. However, use of live objects is not permitted. The project work so completed needs to be presented in both the forms, written and oral.

NCSC 13

Focal Themes till now

Every second year a Focal Theme is announced for the CSC. The children are expected to carry out projects related to the Focal Theme and the identified sub-theme. Activity Guide books are available to guide teachers and the child scientists. The teachers/guides receive special orientation on the theme of the CSC every year at various levels.

The Focal themes:

1993 Know Your Environment
1994 & 95 Clean-Up India
1996 & 97 India of our Dreams – Lets go for it
1998 & 99 Nature – Let us Conserve, Share, and Care
2000 & 2001 Indigenous scientific knowledge for better tomorrow
2002 & 2003 Food systems – Towards nutrition for all
2004 & 2005 Harness water resource for better future
2006 & 2007 Biodiversity – Nurture nature for our future
2008 & 2009 Planet Earth : Explore, Share and Conserve
2010 & 2011 Land Resources : Use for prosperity, Save for posterity
2012 & 2013 Energy : Explore, Harness and Conserve

National Children Science Congress 2013

Theme: Energy

Energy: Explore, Harness and Conservetheme logo

Energy is considered as a crucial input for our day to day work and for economic development of any country. Per capita energy consumption is one of the key deciding factors of the level of wellbeing of any society. It is also referred through the relationship between economic growth with energy consumption. In reality economic development of every region or country largely depends on how its energy requirements are satisfied. Every production process has certain amount of energy requirement. Hence, availability of quality energy sources is crucial for overall scientific and technological progress of any country.

Energy is central to sustainable development and poverty reduction efforts. It affects all aspects of development – social, economic, and environmental – including livelihoods, access to water, agricultural productivity, health, population levels, education, and gender-related issues. None of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can be met without major improvement in the quality and quantity of energy services in developing countries. In this era of global climate change challenges, efficient energy use and replacement of carbon based fuel with non-carbon based fuel are the key areas which can reduce our carbon foot print to a large extent and undertake some pragmatic measures for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.

It is noteworthy that awareness and understanding of such issues in many cases encourage us to take self initiatives for conservation, rational uses and strategies for enhancing efficiency. Therefore, “Energy: Explore, Harness and Conserve” has been proposed as the focal theme for the CSC 2012- 2013, with an expectation that young minds will be able to realize the need, take different initiatives to explore and identify the energy resources and find ways to harness it, identify approaches to achieve optimum use through enhancing energy efficiency and energy conservation along with creating awareness among the masses through their project work.

National Children Science Congress 2013

National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) is a nationwide Science Communication programme started in the year 1993. It is a programme of National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India organised nationally by NCSTC-Network, New Delhi.

It is a forum for children of the age-group of 10-17 years, both from formal school system as well as from out of school, to exhibit their creativity and innovativeness and more particularly their ability to solve a societal problem experienced locally using the method of science.

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