ATAL TINKERING LAB
Adding another feather to its cap, Stepping Stones School received a grant from Niti Ayog (the government of India) to set up an ATL laboratory under the scheme of the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). The school is one of the very few Tricity schools that has the privilege of setting up an ATL lab within its premises. Formally inaugurated on February 12, 2018 by Prof. Anil Kottantharayil (EE department, IIT Mumbai), the school expanded its vision of training young minds to understand the concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by doing. ATL aims at fostering curiosity, creativity, and imagination in young minds and inculcating skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, etc. To achieve this, students’ innovative ideas are channelled under expert guidance into creating efficient and innovative solutions to recurring local problems. Two of our class 10 students did justice to the above statement by bagging second prize in the CBSE National Science Exhibition, 2017-18, at New Delhi.
The school’s ATL lab is decked up with some of the state-of-the-art technologies that are sufficient to boost enthusiasm among young minds to innovate, such as:
Assortment of mechanical equipment
Robotics equipment and kits
Open source microcontroller boards
Assortment of various electronic sensors
Apart from giving access to the ATL labs for 10 hours a day, the school is also working towards training students from nearby areas who belong to non-ATL lab school communities. Moreover, regular intra- and inter-school seminars, competitions, and exhibitions are held in the labs:
- April 14, 2018- Inter-School student training workshop to celebrate Atal Community Day on Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s birth anniversary.
- May 11, 2018- Inter-House Innovation contest to celebrate National Technology Day
- May 29, 2018 – June 28, 2018- ATL lab summer workshop.
Computer lab: Equipped with 80 computers, our information technology laboratory is spread across two rooms of 21’4″ by 22’7″ each. Other than regular practical lectures, the lab is used by students and teachers for research and project-making. Moreover, intra- and inter-school competitions, Computer Carnivals, are successfully organised. The labs are also used for organising CAP (Computer Awareness Program) for underprivileged students after school hours. The labs are open to them for practise during the afternoon.
3D lab: Our 3-D lab, which is equipped with a 3-dimensional projection system, features a variety of informative and educational videos that are shown to students to reinforce their concepts in the domains of science and mathematics. These sessions are deemed to be light yet visually impactful lectures.
Physics, Chemistry, and Math Lab: Our well-equipped chemical and physical laboratories encourage secondary and senior secondary students to visualise and materialise typical and fundamental concepts learned in the textbooks. Furthermore, the secondary students are provided with do-it-yourself kits, models, and robotics kits that are created within the classroom walls. The lectures become self-explanatory when the students can elaborate experiments and determine the reason for every “why.” Our middle school students are also exposed to hands-on experiments that have been mapped with our Science NCERT curriculum and are helpful in creating the right atmosphere for learning or clarifying concepts. These experiments are safe to conduct within the classroom walls.
Robotics: This high-tech initiative at our school provides a platform for young minds to learn, test, and understand the multidisciplinary field of design and automation.
3D printing: This technology, created from a biodegradable polymer (poly-lactic acid), is offered to students to visually create structures and parts for school projects and competitions. The lab is also used to create models that are used as teaching aids by the teachers. Students are given training on software-based 3D modelling and 3D printing.