December 8, 2023

Curious Minds: A STEM Exhibition Presented by Children with Visual Impairment

The little girl’s 6-year-old frame stood tall at her table, behind her experimental apparatus including a plastic bottle filled with water, fitted in with a straw and a balloon held at arm’s-length. With a prompt from her mother beside her, she confidently launched into an explanation of her experiment regarding atmospheric pressure, guiding all her movements through sounds and feel alone. Every visitor, enthralled by her presentation, left after rounds of applause for the girl.

NAB-K endeavours to come together with other like-minded organizations that are committed to the goal of protecting the welfare of individuals living with disabilities. Vividha, a registered Bangalore based trust that facilitates learning among persons with disabilities, is such an organization. Vividha aims to support the overall development and inclusion of children with visual impairment in schools and other spaces, while also empowering parents of children with disability in their journey. They also advocate for inclusion of persons with disability in the society.

NABK collaborated once again with Vividha Trust by providing their venue and infrastructural facilities to conduct Curious Minds, a ‘Celebration of Curiosity,’ an event that took place on the 26th of November, 2023. Vividha through this event, provides a platform to children with visual impairment to present their abilities through STEM exhibition. With the participation of over 80 individuals from 15 organizations all over the country in the exhibition this year, it was the most large-scale version of the exhibition held so far. It provides children with disabilities a chance to demonstrate their skills, talents and learning on a major platform with a wide variety of people both participating and attending. On the importance of STEM education for children with visual impairment, Ms. Shantala of Vividha Trust remarked, “The whole purpose of STEM education is to enable children to understand problems, be solution oriented, and contribute these solutions to society at large. Curious Minds is an effort to include children with vision impairment in the above process and advocate that they be given equal opportunities in STEM learning.”

Visitors began flocking into the premises by 9am and were welcomed by the sight of children ready with their presentations for the day. This included both models and experiments that the participants had prepared. A walk through the rooms gave visitors a chance to understand physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and technology through detailed presentations by the participants. Some of these experiments included identification of acids and bases through chemical reactions, model of the respiratory system, demonstration of the effects of atmospheric pressure, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, assistive alert devices for hearing impaired patients, etc., amongst many more. Hansika, a grade 10 student demonstrating indecisive magnetism said thus, “Just like in life when we are confronted with two close friends having differing opinions, so too the magnets suffer indecisiveness, unable to decide which side to be attracted or repelled by.”

Besides these were a number of zones like experience, exposure, video and assistive solutions. Here, visitors were able to navigate and play versions of games like snakes and ladders, ludo, football that are visually impaired friendly. In the assistive solutions zone, the different kinds of assistive devices and technology that are available to the visually impaired were on display and information about the same was provided by the volunteers of the exhibition.

Ms. Sagarika, a volunteer of Vividha Trust said of NAB-K’s support, “NAB Karnataka has been a great source of strength and have been very generous in supporting this initiative.” Vividha also acknowledged that NAB-K generously contributed in accommodating the participants from various parts of the country and all the participants appreciated NABK’s venue and hospitality. NAB-K has been a proud host of Vividha Trust’s Curious Minds exhibition for 2 years now, greatly appreciating the exposure and confidence that participants draw from the event, owing to the unwavering support and determination of Vividha members.