Science workshop | Jan 2019

What is stable Bow all about?

The ‘why of StableBow‘  and the inspiration are a good place to start. See some of the videos by the children. Also see their work on Rube Goldberg’s machine, Pascal’s principle and another on waves. The debates and the creative struggles should give you a sense of what we build together.

Our sessions are not just about the hard science, but about an environments to create an exploration mindset towards innovation.  Some interesting activities we did include analyzing movies and discussions we had on on Growth Mindset vs Talent Mindset for us to plant seeds for new ways of thinking.  

Everything ends with the presentation to parents and the celebration at the end – without any winners and losers. 

design of the program

The design of the program is based on a few ideas: 

  1. Learning while solving a problem and building something real is much more effective, than just reading the theory
  2. An environment that is not judging and fun can bring back the love for science in children
  3. Exploring and discovering the concepts with multiple methods (videos, examples, experiments, discussions etc.) provides a much deeper learning experience
  4. Learning doesn’t need to be lonely and it is more fun in teams
  5. Parents want to spend time with children in meaningful activities, but are often stuck for the lack of specific ideas

Why do we require parents to participate?

Research shows that families that learn together can have a disproportionate impact on a child’s education as well as overall development. Many parents attempt to do this, but struggle to sustain due to (a) lack of commitment to a schedule (b) lack of structure or specific ideas to collaborate.

Which is why we are insisting  this program requires a parent + child partnership. We believe with the nudge provided by this program, the 2-3 hours you will invest per week can not only be a valuable investment for your child’s education, but also a meaningful way to bond with your child.  

details of the program

Use these principles the program creates an experiential learning over 6 workshop style sessions. 

  • Each of parent and child(ren) teams are given a problem statement at the start of the program
    • A small Dutch town in 18th century wants to solve the problem of flooding through a system of windmills
    • Kublai Khan’s army wants to take over a fort by hurling stones across using catapults
  • The sessions follow a 6 step process (inspired by Design Thinking, but adopted to children) to discover the context and prototype a potential solution
  • Each sessions will be a guided experience and the projects will be built during the session (we know you are very busy and don’t need us to add more to it !!)
  • The sessions are designed to cater to multiple intelligence in children. There will be role plays, debates, research, drawing, video making and lots of tinkering
  • In between sessions the teams will be given videos to watch and puzzles to tackle using our online learning platform
  • All the children are winners and we will celebrate everyone’s journey of innovation

Key facts

  • 6 sessions from Jan 12th – February 16th, 2019
  • Every Saturday morning 9 – 10:30 or 11 – 12:30
  • For children ~ 9-13 years / classes ~ 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Words Work Library and Children’s Center, Lakedew Residency, Harlur (directions click here)
  • Fees in advance Rs. 3,500 per team (one parent and child)
    • Rs. 1,500 per additional child (siblings, not cousins/friends please !!)

How to enrol

  • Click here to register
  • Sign up at the Words Work Library and Children’s Center
  • For any questions please call Sarah @ 74065 21853 / 98867 16311

Dispensing candy

Who says programming should be scary and full of syntax?

We are learning thinking like a programmer through various designs for a candy dispenser.

Look at the creativity and fun associated. Without realizing children are building algorithms, IF ELSE blocks and handling boundary conditions.

We will soon graduate into demonstrating Newton’s laws using Python.

Learning using programming, than learning programming.

Building bridges, pulleys and catapults

As we wrap up the first phase of this semester, children are rapidly finishing up their projects. The creativity and persistence being displayed by everyone is so infectious.

We should see videos from each child next week, but here is a sneak peak.

Some of the designs …

Look at the craftsmanship of this catapult …

… the creativity …


and the struggles …


Don’t get fooled by how simple this looks, it shoots like crazy …

French call it Bricolage … we call it Jugaad … I call it brilliant. A wonderful way to demonstrate the pulley mechanism … sewing machine anyone?


Complex contraptions that are still evolving as we build them …


Simple but no simpler way to build a catapult out of pencils …


Some awesome bridges that go above and beyond the original design … unstoppable creativity

Can’t wait to see all the projects being finished soon … and post the videos online.


Shooting the monkey and floating the watermelon

Today was probably super high on fun and learning quotient.

The idea was to continue exploration of Newton’s laws and the concepts of weight / weightlessness. People often confuse weight and mass. Mass is not easily changeable. It’s more real. Weight is experienced. That was the theme of the initial discussion.

We talked about why weight is felt due to the ‘Normal force’ acting on us. So if the Normal force doesn’t exist, weight cannot be felt. That’s what happens in free fall. If the elevator is in free fall you feel weightless.

This is what happens with astronauts in space. They ‘feel’ weightless.

A rising elevator makes you ‘feel’ heavier. A falling elevator makes you ‘feel’ lighter.

We talked about the science behind simulating weightlessness on earth. In fact I could show it in the living room by jumping off the chair with a watermelon in my hand … and using the slow motion camera on my phone.

Then came the crown jewel of our program. The shooting monkey experiment.


That’s me dressed up as a hunter !!

It’s a sad story of a monkey being shot by a hunter. The monkey (Fred) is hanging by the branch.

The hunter aims perfectly to shoot the monkey. All should go as per plan and sadly the monkey should get shot.


The monkey is smart. It let’s go as soon as it sees the flare of the gun.


The hunter is smarter. He expects the monkey to let go and decides to adjust for the falling monkey. He has three choices.

(A) Leave it as it is (B) Lift it up even more (C) Lower the gun to catch it falling


What would you recommend?

We built an interesting mechanism to demonstrate this phenomenon (Built by our intern Kautilya and my two sons). We had so much fun.

From next week we will be starting the journey of building our projects.

Our inspiration is the Classical Mechanics lecture by Walter Lewins. (Watch from 35:03). Hats off to the master.

Does Beckham defy Newton’s laws?

Many think David Backham is GOD on the football field. So can he defy laws of physics too?

We talked earlier that Newton’s law states an object has a tendency (inertia) to stay on a straight path with constant velocity, unless an external force changes it’s direction and/or speed.

Yet, Beckham seems to some how get the ball to curve and change direction on it’s own.

He is not the only one. There are many others who can do insane curve kicks.

We were all surprised and debated it.


Is it the wind said one kid. But, that can’t explain it all because they are able to do it at will.

Is it spinning? Yes it is but, that doesn’t explain how it can move without touching the ground.

Will it work in vacuum asked another. Brilliant question. The answer is know.

Here is the explanation. Magnus Effect. (By the way, this is how the reverse swing is generated by many in cricket)

We talked about the science behind the London Tower bridge. How are they able to lift the ~1,000 Tonne section without applying so much force?

There is no space for a lever. They didn’t just use pulleys and hydraulic mechanism. They used a very simple principle of balancing weights, just like the counter weight in an elevator. Check this for more details.

Image result for london tower bridge

We then debated what weight really is about.

If it just about mass and gravity, would it ever change when you weight yourself in the same place? What if you are moving in an elevator. Does the scale read differently? Why? Neither gravity or your mass changed. Yet the weight changes.

(If it was that simple, why do we need to pay for weight loss or gain. Just travel in an elevator.

Why do astronauts feel weightless in space? The answer I got was “there is no gravity in space”.  That is a common mis-perception.

Gravity of earth is felt quite strongly where the space station orbits. The acceleration (g) will be reduced by just 15% !!

If the space station orbits at an altitude of approximately 400 km above the Earth’s surface, then the value of g at that location will be reduced from 9.8 m/s/s (at Earth’s surface) to approximately 8.7 m/s/s. This would cause an astronaut weighing 1000 N at Earth’s surface to be reduced in weight to approximately 890 N when in orbit. While this is certainly a reduction in weight, it does not account for the absolutely weightless sensations that astronauts experience.  Source:

We left these open.

Discussion for next week. We will be talking a lot about weights and weightlessness.

Turn right to go left. Makes perfect sense


Doc Hudson: I’ll put it simple: if you’re going hard enough left, you’ll find yourself turning right.
Lightning McQueen: Oh, right. That makes perfect sense. Turn right to go left. Yes, thank you! Or should I say No, thank you, because in Opposite World, maybe that really means thank you.

In the famous movie Cars there is a scene about Hudson Hornet teaching McQueen how to race on a dirt track. Our session today was about exploring the science of turning corners and why this works in some cases.

Here are the scenes we watched.

McQueen failing to make the turn …

Hudson Hornet explaining what he needs to do and then showing it …

We started with the basics. A rotating object will have a tendency to continue in the same path.


This is the implication of Newton’s 1st law. Path of inertia.


Yes we can still turn a sharp corner while riding a car or a skateboard. Thanks to friction in our wheels. But, if there the corner is too sharp, we usually have banking to increase the friction.


In this case the dirt road doesn’t offer enough friction and there is no banking. So the car will tend to drift and spin.

The rear wheels will over rotate causing the car to spin. Happens when you turn on ice too. To compensate you need to turn the front wheels away from that spin and also ensure the back wheels are horizontal offering maximum friction. You steer into the turn.

Counter intuitive.

You can see this in many car racing movies.

Whales, Popcorn, Boyle’s law – Demo session

We started with the tale of two balloons … and slowly evolved the intuition behind Boyle’s law. We then talked about giant squids and Cuvier’s beaked whales. Fascinating linkage between Boyle’s law and how whales adapt to deep dive into the ocean.

Linkage of the same concept to many other things. Some obvious (pressure cooker) and other not too obvious (pop corn).

The children had fun debating the problems and solutions …

The parents even more …

We then talked about the thinking behind the program coming up. The philosophies behind the design of Stable Bow. Details of the sessions.

The children are excited about learning Newton’s Laws and Kinematics.

We will build some very cool projects this semester.

Sessions start Sunday July 15th. 9 AM in Lakedew Residency (Harlur) and 4 PM next to Purvafairmont Apartments (HSR).

Click here to register.

Here is what we discussed Stable Bow Intro V2

Experiential learning program | July-Sept 2018

July-Sept 2018 LDEW2

Similar program will be conducted simultaneously near Purvafairmont Apartments, 24 Main, HSR Layout at 4 PM in the evening. See details below

All of us as parents are convinced that just relying on school education is not enough for our children. We know the world  they will live in tomorrow will require them to develop new life skills and develop true passion for their work.

Also, children learn best by doing – not just regurgitating textbooks and taking exams. While there is tremendous value in traditional school education, we are all looking for ways to complete / complement that.

That is the purpose of Stable Bow. To complement / complete traditional school education, so children learn by Exploration, Experimentation, Experience and Expression.

I will be conducting a 12 week program for children in partnership with Words Work Library and Children’s Center in Lakedew residency, Harlur, Bangalore as well as near Purvafairmont Apartments, HSR Layout.

The real objective of the program is to instill a love for learning, critical thinking and appreciation for collaboration in young minds. This will happen through the context of exploring PHYSICS (thru projects, programming and writing)

The ‘why of StableBow‘ can explain more about this thinking.

Topics for the program:

  • Physics: Kinematics
    • Includes study of motion of objects and the effect of force … including  study of force, Newton’s laws and 2D movement of objects
  • Programming: Building projects using Python and Jupyter notebooks
    • No prior programming knowledge is needed

Details of the program in Lakedew:

  • Intro session July 8th 9 AM
  • 12 sessions from July 15th – September 30th
  • Every Sunday 9:00 – 10:30 AM
  • For children ~9-14 years / classes 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Words Work Library and Children’s Center, Lakedew Residency, Harlur (directions click here)
  • Fees Rs. 1,500 per child per month

Details of the program in Purvafairmont:

  • Intro session July 8th 4 PM
  • 12 sessions from July 15th – September 30th
  • Every Sunday 4:00 – 5:30 PM
  • For children ~9-14 years / classes 5-8
  • The sessions will be in the Budding Kidz Montessori Preschool, Next to Purvafairmont, 24 Main, HSR Layout (directions click here)
  • Fees Rs. 1,500 per child per month

How to join the program:

  • Click here to register

There will be a lot more happening than just the topics at hand. The experience and interactions will be much more crucial than the content itself.

See some of the videos by the children. Also see this one on Rube Goldberg’s machine, Pascal’s principle and another on waves.

Over 12 weeks, children will EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT, EXPERIENCE and EXPRESS in this journey of learning. Kids can expect three things …

  1. Learn to Learn (EXPLORE) … discussion on learning concepts such as Growth vs Talent Mindset and Deliberate Practice
  2. Creation. Build a Project (EXPLORE, EXPERIMENT and EXPERIENCE) … teams of 2-3 will build a project (say a ‘hydraulic mechanism’). In the process appreciating the application of physics, challenges of coming up with original ideas, facing the obstacles of building / tinkering with real things and above all working as a team
  3. Critically Analyze and Synthesize (EXPLORE and EXPRESS) … we will watch small movie clips, critically analyze the layers/nuances (camera angles, sound, expressions, story telling etc.) and articulate those ideas. Kids love this

Please see the following links to understand more about StableBow and the program. Of course, we can talk more when we meet in the introduction session on Dec 16th.

Children in an assembly | Hint

Here are a few hints to solve the problem listed here

When you need to solve slightly ambiguous problems like this one, follow a structured thought process.

  1. Read it carefully and explain the ask to someone else
  2. Represent the problem visually
  3. List what information you have and what else you would like
  4. For information missing can u make assumptions? Enumerate all possibilities
  5. Try solving with multiple approaches

Step #2 … representation

Step #3 & #4 …