My Science research experience in the year 2017-2018

-Master Kyle Rozario 6D

Science Research to us was an easy task. Just get the information and it’s done. But when we actually started working on it, it wasn’t easy at all. Our group consisted of three members, Sachin from Class VII C, Ness Mandot and Kyle Rozario from Class VI-D.

We were the youngest team representing our school. We were given the opportunity to choose our project and after researching on various topics, we selected, the NanoScience behind ancient Kajal and its antimicrobial activities.

As they say, ‘Hard work is the key to success” we worked hard in finding out various natural methods of preparing kajal and with the help of our guide teacher, Ms Anita we made Kajal using drumstick leaves, peanuts, almonds, mustard oil, castor oil.

Firstly, we had to get all the apparatus ready, then in our school Lab thanks to our Lab assistant, Mr Chinnappa we started preparing kajal by burning the above ingredients to make soot and then mixing it with ghee or olive oil or castor oil to complete the process. We got a lot of encouragement from our teachers who saw us at work, as they used to tell us they’d like to place orders for our natural kajal. During this period we also got the opportunity to visit Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla as a field visit where we were assisted by our resource person, Ms Karthiki who took us to the Science Laboratory there and gave us some information related to our project. We also got an opportunity to prepare kajal there and give her the sample for testing.

We were also guided by Ms Anita to maintain a Log Book of our daily activities, ups and downs, successes and failures on a daily basis. I learnt that a Log Book is very essential for every scientist as that’s how we can learn from our mistakes. Then came the time to compile all our work by writing our project, the abstract, the aim and objective, the methodology, the experiments, data analysis, hypothesis, conclusion, future plan, the pictures of the work done by us, etc. In this way we completed our project book in time for the scrutiny round. But before that we presented it to our Principal Fr. Bernard Fernandes who was very pleased with our work and motivated us with his encouraging words. We were very anxious about what would happen next, till we got the good news that our project was selected for the second round, the oral presentation.

Thus began the next step on our journey, where we researched a whole lot more and prepared more samples of Kajal. For this round we had to upgrade our project, prepare charts and practice presenting our project.  Ms Anita gave us guidelines of how to prepare the charts and how we should go about the presentation. We had to research a lot for this round as the judges would be asking us questions related to our project. During this process we learnt how to confidently present before an audience, we also learnt how to work as a team and support each other during our presentation, we learnt techniques as to how we could tackle the questions. We were also lucky to get inputs and guidance from our Senior researchers of Classes VIII – X who were very supportive of us. During this period we also learnt an ancient method of making Kajal. One of our team members, Sachin’s grandmother’s kajal recipe was very interesting, and was made with Sago, rice flour and ghee and the mixture was poured in a coconut shell to dry in the sun.

For the presentation, Ms Anita took us though grueling practice sessions till she was convinced we were presenting confidently. Ms Anita always maintained that we have to do the research and she would not spoon feed us as that would defeat the whole purpose of the research.  She also made it clear to us to complete our work without wasting time and go back to class and complete our notes and studies. Hence we also learnt time management. Initially we used to take too long to complete our work, but over a period of time we started working smartly.

The second round was a tough round but we presented to the best of our ability and our judge seemed pleased with our work. We were a little unsure if we would get through this round as there were students from so many schools with many innovative projects and we were novices. But I guess our hard work was appreciated and we were selected for the next round, which was an achievement in itself. This again was a presentation and grilling session. This round too, we tackled to the best of our ability but sadly we didn’t win this round and lost out on the State level trophy. But our guide teacher was mighty pleased with us that we cleared the presentation round in spite of being younger compared to other students. Her appreciation and our love for Science make us want to tread on this journey once again.