We want to see all students cherish and comprehend what they learn and simultaneously steer them towards being socially aware and responsible citizens.

Students learn to make paper bags out of newspapers, upon being instructed by a Mindspark Volunteer.
Mindspark students and volunteers enjoy a paper bag making activity after an exciting session on environmental conservation

Who We Cater To

Mindspark generally chooses a few keen students of Class VIII from government or government-aided schools around IISER Pune for its program. Mindspark caters to around 30 students every year.

These kids are selected through their performance in an entrance exam, followed by a short summer camp. Both these methods of selection are not aimed towards choosing the best from a lot, as this would effectively contradict the basal philosophy of Disha. Instead, the test allows us to understand their levels of content knowledge and comprehension. Additionally, the camp helps us choose those students who are highly interested in learning with our methods and can use our resources to its maximal potential.

Why We Cater To Them

Mindspark was initiated to aid bright students from underprivileged backgrounds to help them prepare and appear in the annual MSCE Pune Scholarship Exam. However, with time, we realized that these students lacked in understanding most of the elementary concepts taught in their curriculum. This, along with temporal constraints and a need for more realistic goals, made us steer Mindspark towards unexplored Paths. 

Currently, the driving force of this program is the hope that students will start to enjoy what they learn, only if they try to grasp the shadowed concepts involved. Moreover, we feel that this doing so shall encourage them to continue learning more in their future years. 

Thus, it was decided that Mindspark will focus on academic and social growth which should benefit in the overall development of these students. The path to be taken, though, should be filled with games and activities that make learning memorable for them.

How We Do It

Each year, Mindspark conducts a set of hour-long sessions from July to April at the Lecture Hall Complex (LHC) at IISER Pune. Every Saturday and Sunday, the children participate in 3-4 such ordered sessions explicitly designed for them. The sessions are created by IISER students, keeping in mind the conceptual outcomes required, while also packing them with activities and practice problems wherever needed. They generally revolve around the following themes:

  1. Math And Problem Solving – Here, we help visualise fundamental concepts of daily importance to the students. Beginning from simple addition, fractions, integers, etc., we climb up to ideas such as those of percentages, graphs, equations, Interests, and Discounts. Alongside, we also have sessions that aim at honing their problem-solving skills through ideas of gears, parity, the odd-one-out etc.
  2. English Comprehension – These sessions focus on making them accustomed with the basic structures of the English language, and on trying to make them comfortable in speaking the same independently. We generally tread through grammar concepts and attach them to interlinked activities such as Roleplays, Video Description, Flashcards, etc. to help them nurture the language within them. The ultimate hope is that their familiarisation with English shall help them connect easily with their textbooks in their future course of study.
  3. General Awareness – These are entirely Ice Breaker sessions where we hope to teach them social topics through various games, experiments, and outdoor activities. Finding directions within IISER using maps, observing weather measuring instruments, first-aid sessions, Games on road safety, Conducting Elections and A model Parliament on an issue dear to them are some activities they enjoyed. 

Ultimately, a significant help that we would appreciate from anyone of you reading this would be a collection of Ideas. Ideas on how we could innovate this teaching-learning-self-exploring experience for both the students and our volunteers are welcome. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact us.

Mission Statement

Mindspark aims to achieve academic and social growth in academically weak students. This is to be done by enhancing their concepts in fundamental mathematics, logical reasoning and English communication skills. Additionally introduce them to certain essential societal aspects such as the making of government policies, banking investments etc.

Annual Goals

To steer the program in a direction that maximizes the outcomes of the following aspirations for each student.

  1. Shows confidence in speaking basic English independently.
  2. Comprehends and responds to English textual material without any help. 
  3. Uses and understands the need for fundamental mathematical tools and terminology.
  4. Gains a basic idea of some social aspects of being a responsible citizen in a community.
  5. Develops some primary problem-solving abilities.

Pandemic Activities

Considering the pandemic situation, Mindspark has focused on redesigning its framework by encompassing a wide range of topics with more fun activities and thought-provoking questions. This modified structure aims to boost the reasoning ability of the students and help them to get a clearer picture of these concepts. The revised syllabus will be incorporated, once the teaching sessions resume after lockdown.

Program Coordinators

Atharva Bhide

Email ID: atharva.bhide@students.iiserpune.ac.in

TN Suhal Siva Ratan

Email ID: tn.ratan@students.iiserpune.ac.in

Vinayak Pendse

Email ID: vinayak.pendse@students.iiserpune.ac.in