Changathikkoottam A crowd of friends Day 1

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Changathikkoottam A crowd of friends

May 9,10 Krishna ALP School Alanallur

Day 1

I got a chance to be a part of Changathikkoottam conducted by Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) [As an organiser]. It was a wonderful experience a going back in time to the good old days in school. The programme was arranged for kids of age 9-12 (standard 4 7) as mid-summer vacation programme. The programme was attended by over 50 students from various parts of Alanallur Panchayath. Changathikkottam consisted of Origami which teach one to make models by folding paper -, science experiments, songs and games. I read about the programme in news paper and when I met Murali master I got the dates for our Changathikkottam. I thought the programme was on 8,9 so I went to GVHSS Alanallur on 8th morning only to see an empty school campus. On 9th I wasnt that enthusiastic and I reched there by 11am, where as the programme started by 10am. In the beginning I discussed about Free Software with Parishad members as I was seeking their support for our efforts to spread free software. My first chance to get involved in the programme was when the participants are divided into two groups and one group doing Origami and other doing experiments. I went with the latter team and the first experiment was a plastic boat then we did dancing button and fire extinguisher.

Plastic boat

Water is taken in a flat vessel. Paper was dipped in the water and soaked so that the oil gets removed with the paper. A plastic strip (a 5cm strip of a tongue cleaner) is cut in the form of a boat (more aptly a fish). The magic was when Murali sir placed camphor on the tail of the boat, the boat started moving and it continued to move above water surface.
Science behind the magic: – When camphor is dissolved in water it decreases the surface tension of water at the backside and the pressure difference pulls the boat forward. The kids were amused at the self-propelling boat and got the idea of the phenomenon of surface tension and the magic it can do. The explanation showed a masons tube (used for levelling) and showed the curved surface of the tube. Soap is also said to do the trick but I didnt see the result. [Now as I write this I remember the classic example, which we were taught when we were learning surface tension the spherical shape assumed by water, drops, which I could have told them had I remembered it then]

Dancing buttons

The next experiment was dancing buttons. Soda water is taken in a glass and plastic (shirt) buttons are dropped into the glass. The different coloured buttons made the dance more interesting. The basis for the experiment is the decomposition of soda water into water and Carbon Dioxide, CO2. The dissolved CO2 in soda water (carbonic acid) is liberated and the CO2 bubbles get adhered to the buttons and lift it above the water surface. When the buttons reach the surface level the CO2 is freed to atmosphere and the buttons goes down and the up-down motion of the buttons creating a wonderful dance. Then we discussed about CO2 in the atmosphere. The kids knew photosynthesis, which uses CO2 and light to prepare food (carbohydrates) and liberates Oxygen, O2. The plants also use O2 for respiration like animals do was also clarified to them.

In the night it is not advisable to sleep near a tree, as there is no photosynthesis to absorb CO2 and liberate O2 in the absence of light and as the tree absorb O2 for respiration and O2 is deficient near the tree in he night.

Fire Extinguisher

CO2 is used as a fire extinguisher in theatres and other closed places for its ability to cut the contact with O2, which is required for Oxidation (fire). The experiment was the demonstration of a simple method for producing CO2. Vinegar (acetic acid) is taken in a bottle and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is added and shaken well to get CO2. The froth is similar to champagne when Schumacher wins Formula One or the Aussie wins a cricket test match. This is a wonderful experiment and I tried it at home 😉 [If you cannot afford Champagne this is a wonderful replacement].

After this experiment we went to the other room where Origami was going on and the teams got swapped. Gopalkrishnan master of Krishna school demonstrated origami. First we made a Mar papa hat with newspaper. [I hope to post different steps of making the hat once I get a dig cam or ask me if you want to know]. Then the same hat is made to a Gandhi-Nehru hat. After this we had lunch break.

Afternoon session started with sprayer experiment. It was a demonstration of a simple mechanism to make a sprayer. A glass of water is taken and a straw is placed in it. Using another straw air is blown along the open end by keeping the two straws perpendicular to each other. The water started to flow in the form of spray. When we blow near the top of the immersed straw, the air is displaced and air from inside the straw takes its place and water starts coming up as the air moves up and when it come out the blow make it in the form of spray. Madhu master of Bhimnad School demonstrated it and then the kids tried it. It was a very interesting experiment.

The next experiment was using a 5-rupee note. It was a manifestation of persistence of vision, which is the principle behind movies seeming so real. A 5-rupee note is dropped and the kids were asked to catch it with two fingers (thumb and index) kept in the same level of the note. Madhu master demonstrated this experiment. I also got a chance to try (Those who could catch it would have got it). Nobody could catch it except Madhu master himself dropping and catching himself. It was because of persistence of vision of our eye. Even after the note is dropped it remain in its position for some time (1/16th of a second I guess). Even after our eye registers the drop after this delay it takes time for our brain to give instruction to catch the note to the tips of the fingers. So finally when the instruction is reached the tip of the fingers the note had gone to look its job. When he do the dropping and catching he knows exactly when the note is dropping and he can catch it. The next was games session. The games of the day were Thoovalakali, Letters in your name and a Ball game.
Letters in your name

The 26 letters of the English alphabet are marked each in a piece of paper. The children are instructed to stand behind a line (starting line). A letter is selected at random and for each occurrence of the letter in the name kids can jump forward. For a wrong jump they had to jump back. The first one to cross the finishing line (or all those who crossed after all letters are chosen). The winner needs luck (long name) and then the ability to jump as long as possible.


The entire group is divided into two teams and each team is placed at a distance and facing each other. Two lines are drawn for each team. Each one in the team is given a number starting from 1. At equal distance from each team in the centre, a kerchief (or a ball or something that can be picked and run) is placed. As the referee calls a number at random that person from each team rushes forward and try to get hold of the kerchief and run to their teams end without letting the other to touch. If the second team member touches the first with the kerchief the first is out otherwise the second is out of the game.
The team with more number of players left at the end of the game (when all numbers are called out) wins the game. The trick is letting other person to take the kerchief and touch him. The chance for the other way is very less.

Another was a ball game; I dont know what to call it. It is played like this: –
The group is divided into two teams. Each team stand side to side like in a queue. A ball is the first player in each team. He/she is supposed to pass it on to the next one behind him without looking back. He gives to one behind him and so on. When the ball is reached the last player, he runs to the first player with the ball and pass it on to him/her. The first team to complete the cycle (all the player got a chance to be the first player) wins the game. The days programme was dispersed after a song by Murali master. After the kids left we sat back and discussed plans for the next day.

About the second day next time [It has taken a good time for me to write all this and type it. It was a tough abstract to discrete transform].


  1. Dilip said,

    May 20, 2005 at 8:18 pm

    So you have started writing small posts too 😉 ?. This made a complete picture.. I wish I was ther too,,,

  2. Pierre said,

    May 24, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Cher Praveen,

    C’tait un Blog trs bon.

    On lui a crit dans le bon anglais la diffrence de Celui crit par votre ami Dilipu (dilipu.net)which qui me conduit toujours fou.

    Maintenez le bon travail. Mai la source soit avec vous.

    J’attends avec intrt plus de tels blogs.

    Pierre Laval
    Bordeaux, France

  3. Administrator said,

    June 8, 2005 at 12:49 pm

    This is what http://www.freetranslation.com/ gave.
    Dear Praveen,

    It was a very good Blog.

    One wrote to him in the English voucher to the difference of the one writes by your friend Dilipu (dilipu.net) which that drives me always crazy.

    Maintain the good work. May the source be with you.

    I await with interest more of such blogs.

    Rock Laval Bordeaux, France
    Thanks Rock!!

  4. Murali said,

    August 20, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    Dear Pravin
    good to read some thing about Alanallur. i belongs to alanallur. my house name is Punnamanna. did you ever heard of this name?. currently i am in dubai


  5. Praveen A said,

    August 21, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Murali: hmm thanks for your comments. I have not heard that name 🙁

    Have a nice time, Happy Onam in advance.

  6. Jayaram Menon said,

    August 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Dear Murali,
    Glad to note that you are from Punnamanna. My mother is also from Punnamanna in Arakkuparamba. Please give me details of your lineage. Hope we can communicate in future.

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