Fostering Sustainability and Invention in the Classroom and Beyond

Education lab at SELCO Foundation is working towards inspiring a new generation of youth that focuses on solving the problems of the 3 billion+ energy underserved populations of the world by being:
Sensitive, inclusive, sustainable
Innovators with a bottom-up perspective, who can work seamlessly across varying cultural and geographical contexts
Socially entrepreneurial in spirit
Invention education introduces the concept of invention to the children of rural underserved communities and also mentors them throughout their schooling to address their issues through invention.The whole program is based on the belief that underserved communities need to be empowered to solve their issues in their community.Sustainable Science Labs looks to create greater awareness about environmental issues and sustainability.

Inventions have played an important role in shaping the course and development of the society.Inventions are radical new ideas and perspectives for change.They serve to address the pressing needs.Inventions can have both positive and negative influences.For example-inventions such as plastics,atom bomb,CFC Freon,DDT(pesticide) etc have all created damage more than benefits. Hence, it is very important that while cultivating the problem solving approach in our future generations, it is incumbent they are able to look through the lens of sustainability (financial,social,environmental and cultural) while understanding problems,brainstorming about solutions and designing inventions accordingly.Inventions should be such that they are able to create avenues for asset creation,provide upliftment and at the same time do not cause harm to environment and the ecosystem i.e. be drivers of sustainable development innovations that have a potential to trigger a change. This was the underlying factor for us to think about merging Invention Education and Sustainable science labs and come up with an Integrated course called Invention and Sustainability studies.

This course envisions the creation and development of scientifically and environmentally literate productive members of society who manifest skills as critical problem solvers, responsible stewards of nature, innovative and creative citizens, informed decision makers, and effective communicators who work on providing sustainable solutions to the prevailing problems of the society. In this course, the students question the current practices, analyze and understand alternatives that would be sustainable in the long-run.Energy needs are met through alternative energy solutions, when economically feasible. In this process the students implement Sustainable living practices in their schools and communities.The students also turn share their knowledge with community members for greater impact and thus become advocates of change.Concepts and skills in Life Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences customized to local requirements and resource availability are intertwined and  organized around situations and problems that challenge and arouse students’ curiosity.Various hands-on, minds-on, and hearts-on activities are used to develop students’ interest and let them become active learners instead of just relying solely on textbooks to obtain the knowledge.The concepts and skills are integrated rather than discipline-based, stressing the connections across science topics and other disciplines as well as applications of concepts and thinking skills to real life.

If we all worked to put long-term impacts before short-term convenience, we really could make the world a better place.



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