Sustainable development and waste management seemed to be the themes that set little innovators thinking at the Thiruvananthapuram revenue district school science festival which is being held in the city from November 15. Among the working models on display at the SMV Model HSS were windmills, hydro electric and solar power plants, rainwater harvesting systems, automatic streetlights and a host of biogas plant models.
“We are going to face severe water shortage in the near future. So it’s imperative that we explore other sustainable and renewable sources of energy,” said Goutham Krishna, wearing a very serious look on his 12-year-old face.
Goutham and his friend Mahadevan M H, both class 7 students of Govt Model HSS, Kilimanoor, proceeded to explain the solution they proposed through their working model of a wind turbine. The duo had braced themselves up for the Q&A session with the judges and supplied logical answers to queries regarding feasibility of windmills in Kerala and its financial viability. Besides explaining the working of their turbine that they claimed could be used to irrigate paddy fields and move cargo, they made a well-researched case complete with citations of successful real-time wind farms such as the one in Kanjikode in Palakkad.
Athira S Raj of New Higher HSS, Nellimoodu, carried off the presentation on her model of a solar power plant with surprising ease. “My home has solar panels and we use it for the energy requirements during day time. With solar power batteries we can also save the energy and use it during night,” she said with the confidence of a hands-on engineer. Her team-mate Sanuraj V P said they needed only a few hours to get the elaborate model ready as the blue print was finalised quite early. “The solar panels, Athira brought from her home; the PVC pipes are from our school compound and the greenery you see was made by sprinkling coloured powder on sawdust,” he said.
The automatic streetlight was the innovation of Greeshma Rajiv and Shilpa Sreekumar, class 7 students of Holy Angels Convent. The lights, they said, functioned with a light dependent resistor (LDR), which will automatically switch the lights on when day light fades and switch them off when sunlight appears. “This can be used in homes too with the help of batteries so that energy loss is minimized,” they said.
Quite a number of models of biogas plants were also showcased by students. Though at times caught off the guard by the questions of judges, the children put on an impressive show on the whole. The judges, on the other hand, often seemed bent on pointing out the flaws rather than giving a congratulatory pat on the young shoulders for their enthusiasm.
At the work experience fair at Thycaud Government Model HSS, working models were made by students on-the-spot. The three-day festival will conclude on November 17.