Robotics with Atul

  • NoAtul Pant, who runs the non profit Timeless Life Skills ( https://timelesslifeskills.org ), was in Coimbatore on Sunday, December 2nd and many homeschoolers turned up enthusiastically for the introduction to Robotics at The Learning Space in Race Course Road.

We started with a minute of silence. Atul was introduced by mutual friend Vikas  We got a glimpse into the workshops he does consistently with children in 20 remote schools across India, igniting their passion in science and engineering.

Atul introduced himself as an enthusiastic father who designed fun puzzles and games for his son. And he shared how his journey in this endeavor started 10 years ago, when his heart was moved by seeing a group of  naughty kids in a mountain school  come alive with a Flip camera.

He started the day’s session with a few puzzles and brought focus on thinking like a scientist, engineer and historian  versus gathering facts which anyone can access  with a voice command these days. The puzzles he shared made us aware of our notion of Functional Fixedness.

He started with electricity and batteries and explored different types of switches with kids. And how when they become sensors, we move towards robotics and when  they move towards valves and from there towards diodes, transistors & chips, it is in the domain of computing. And so many everyday gadgets include both.

He let the children play freely with his batteries, Microbits, Occlusion Rift, Alpha wave readers (that demo thought based computing) and everything in between. And he gently introduced theory in the course of their play. Children also worked with MakeCode simulator and got introduced to essential programming concepts like If-then conditions, Precise instructions, Repeat loops and Display string. Even very young kids could participate in programming since there is no need to know syntax.

In the end, Atul surprised everyone by saying his college degree was in Commerce- Electronics, Robotics and Computing happened out of passion to learn.

We closed with kids coming up to thank  Atul and a minute of silence afterwards.

Deeply grateful to Atul for shining light into so many aspects of learning and parenting in the guise of an introduction to Robotics.