On the Verge November-December 2010 Final

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F r 0 m U S t O Y O U

We have for you this time, a mixed bag; so many different things have happened in these past few months that we have decided to put in everything that we possibly can from all the adventures that students have had. We have Parths piece on his and Neel Rakholias experience at the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) in Manila, Philippines where they came in 3rd among the many countries represented. This was the first time our school won at such a prestigious event at an international level. We also have Binal Maam telling us about the achievement in an interview by Pranav Sejpal and Kunal Kamania. We have a piece on DAIMUN (Dhirubhai Ambani International Model UN) 2010, where we had an eleven person delegation representing the countries of Mexico and Malaysia. For all of those not in the know, Model UN is a simulation of the United Nations at a high school or college level in which students participate in a dialogue representing various countries and try and come up with solutions to real issues that plague our society today. It encourages one to think internationally and look at things from completely different perspectives. We have from Kunal Kamania, experiences of students who went to the Tribal Academy at Tejgadh which they visited as part of their International Award for Young People scheme. Then, we have the students experience of the Tagore Train that had docked at the Rajkot Junction. It was a unique experience that gave students an insight into the life of the Nobel Laureate and acclaimed poet. We had the Animal Action week when Grade 7 and 8 participated in various discussions and quizzes to raise awareness about animals and their ill-treatment. This year is the first time that the 7th graders face examinations. We hear from Radhika Jagani about the exam experience. Its now 2011 and we usher in the new year. Its going to be a year filled with yet more interesting experiences and adventures. We have a very busy two months coming up; we have the Dzongri expedition, we have the Talking Gandhi event in February, we have Crosstalk happening and we have IB debate at Mahindra United World College in Pune. So we can promise you that the next issue is going to be as busy and packed as this one and we hope you enjoy it. Happy New Year to all! Jay Batavia, IBDP2 (with the Editorial Team)

Photo: Jay BataviaDisplay on Junk Food created by the students of Grade 10 as part of their ongoing class work on argumentative writing.

On the verge: news, views and more from the galaxy schoolvolume 1, issue 3

Staying with problems longer: the WRO Parth Mehta, IBDP1 Getting to Know: Our Robotics teacher, Ms. Binal Kamdar Pranav Sejpal & Kunal Kamania, The Exam Experience Radhika Jagani, 7A Make a DFrance in your life Anuradha Khara, Faculty, French Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore: Celebrating 150 Years Shyamal Vibhakar, IBDP1 MUN: A Learning Experience Sonark Vajir, IBDP2 Nalini Malanis Splitting the Other: A Post-MUN Experience Juhi Palan, IBDP1 Tiger! Tiger! At Amdavad ni Gufa Shivali Kansagra, 9B



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Editorial team: Jay Tekwani (IDBP1), Kunal Kamania (IDBP1), Parth Mehta (AS levels), Jay Batavia (IBDP2) Glogs on Cover: Nishka Raman, Vaidehi Chhotai, Design and tech team: Jay Tekwani (IDBP1), Kunal Kamania (IDBP1), Juhi Palan (IDBP1) Photos: Jay Batavia, Shyamal Vibhakar Guidance and support: Editorial and design: Ms. Gopika Jadeja, Ms. Anuradha Khara, Ms. Luna Banerjee Faculty contributors: Ms. Nina Kapoor, Ms. Sakina Bharmal, Ms. Anuradha Khara On the Verge, the newsletter of The Galaxy School is meant for private circulation only.

Animal Action Week: Focus Tiger Vaidehi Chhotai, 7A Tejgadh: Residential Project Kunal Kamania, IBDP1 One of many heroes Juhi Palan, IBDP1 Teachers we less know: P C Roy Parth Mehta, AS Levels Inter-group competition results






From the Principals Desk


Staying with problems longer: THE WROIt all began in December 2009 when we ventured into robotics for the first time, with the faint goal of trying to represent India at the World Robot Olympiad lying dormant in some corner of our hearts. When we set off with two to three learning sessions a week in the month of December, neither of us could have really calculated our chances of accomplishing what we currently have. Day by day, it went on becoming more and more concrete. What seemed to be a stop gap arrangement turned out to be a one of the most exciting events in our young lives. The trio of Binal Maam, Neel and I produced Indias best result ever at the World Robot Olympiad 2010 in the Philippines, fetching our nation the much awaited medal (BRONZE) in Indian LEGO Robotics history. The competition for Senior High (15-18 years old) category consisted of 45 teams from 22 different nations striving hard to complete the robotic challenge successfully. The challenge Palo Sebo was all about building a functional robot that climbs a 2 feet pole, grabs the ping pong ball on top of the pole, walks to another 1.5 feet pole, climbs it, and grabs the second ping pong ball on top of this pole. It took us around a month and a half of hardwork to develop such a robot. But, as one might guess, that certainly wasnt the end. Not surprisingly, numerous teams from around the world managed to perform the challenge described above with cent percent accuracy like us, and hence, time apart from consistency, was the deciding factor. Reducing the running time of our robot from the previous best 38 seconds to a figure close to 10 seconds was certainly not going to be easy. Much experimentation and testing followed, where our sole aim was to complete the challenge as rapidly as possible, bearing in mind that we could not afford to compromise the consistency of the same. In other words, yes, we wanted our robot to finish the course in less than 12 seconds maximum, but we did not want a situation where the machine stops working in the middle of the course every once in a while. At the WRO, each team was to make its robot run twice, and the better of the two runs would count. Our robot let us down in our first run, courtesy a strange problem with the ultrasonic sensor that we had used to climb both the poles. All charged up before the second run, Neel and I managed to regain the speed as well the consistency of our robot that we had worked so hard for back in India. And, it was bound to pay off...our robot completed the challenge with a high degree of perfection in 11.63 seconds!! To say all three of us were overjoyed would be an understatement!! Overall, when it comes to LEGO Robotics, the last ten months have been an enormous learning experience for each one of us. In my opinion, the most important thing I learnt is patience you try endlessly for four hours on a Saturday morning with not a soul in sight in school only to worsen the running time of your stupid robot from some 11.2 seconds to 12.5 seconds which is definitely highly frustrating!! There were countless such pitfalls, but none so severe as to leave us disaffected. We encountered problems, we diagnosed them and we solved them; each time adding a bit to our knowledge of LEGO robotics. As Albert Einstein has said, Its not about being so smart; its about staying with problems longer.4

Getting to know : Our Robotics Teacher, Ms. Binal KamdarWere you interested in robotics from the day you got to know of it? Being always driven by technology, robotics influenced me in wishing to comprehend upcoming technologies to a certain extent. However, hard core metal robotics doesnt fascinate me as much as LEGO Robotics does. How did you get involved in such a unique profession as teaching Robotics? Interestingly, the idea was originally Kiran Sirs. In 2004, he wanted to set up a LEGO Lab in the school campus to provide students with training in robotics. Given my engineering background, I willingly accepted such an exciting & challenging task. Did you face any difficulty from your family regarding your work? Not really. Ive been working since I graduated. Fortunately, my family has been very supportive, open and encouraging, and has helped me make a difference through my work. Being a woman did you face any problems in the society when you were studying for robotics or Lego labs? How does gender matter here? On the contrary, I received much more respect and admiration for being able to work diligently in a so called Mans World. Thanks to the changing face of society in the 21st century, responsibility for the idea that equality seems to be proving metal contraptions could ever replace a human being. itself to the fullest. Mainly, Artificial Intelligence Robotics is known of but now ( A I ) a n d M e c h a t r o n i c s many know about it? How do Engineering are two upcoming you see the future? professions in the world of Robotics. It certainly is known. Especially, in India, there are very few What are your other hobbies specialized professionals in the besides Robotoics? Apart from eating sweets (hobbyfield of Robotics. I see turned-weakness, by now) and tremendous potential in this then ending up in the gym field since Robots have been (necessity-turned-hobby, by making their place around now), I enjoy meeting and human lives gradually and interacting with people from different fields. comfortably. I believe that awareness of and Apart from the learning I gain education for the same should while being surrounded by start taking place right from sensitive and sensible people, I value the kind of openness it builds in thinking with different I received much more reperspectives. spect and admiration for being Needless to say, that was one of able to work diligently in so a the driving forces behind called Mans World initiating all of you into Robotics. After all, being among all of you secondary schools in o