Science is really important, especially in an age when health and technological advancements occur every other day. Can toys made from trash help teachers rekindle students' interest in the hard sciences?
The educational system in America has suffered from a lack of adequate teachers as well as funding, and it's not getting better any time soon. Teachers are often forced to improvise, and students are usually the ones who suffer the consequences when textbooks or teaching tools aren't up to par.
Finding a way to communicate science concepts to low-income children in India inspired Arvind Gupta, a science teacher in India, to get creative. Gupta has since made a name for himself by designing toys that demonstrate mathematical and scientific principles, which children or teachers can build for themselves out of cheap or free parts.
Currently, Gupta runs the Children's Science Centre, at India's Pune University, and together with his team he has created an arsenal of over 800 recycled toys made from bits of trash like used match sticks, rubber bicycle valve tubing, and old shoes.
Video clips that demonstrate how to make and use the toys are available on Gupta's simple website, and have been translated into many languages. "Every day over 50,000 children and teachers across the world watch these videos," Gupta told Gizmag. "Thousands of books are downloaded every day and this fills our hearts with hope and joy. We feel privileged to be able to share our work with at least some children across the world."