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Banao Bus +

Curiosity CarnivaL

Imagine an innovation program that reaches 14,000 children a year. This is that very program!

One of the largest NGOs in the India, Agastya Foundation provides hands-on science education experiences to lakhs of children in government schools every day. Their Kuppam campus boasts a state of the art 'Innovation Hub' or Makerspace for students to use. Through this hub, they reach just a fraction of their reach through the Mobile Science Labs in buses that travel all across the country.


The Curiosity Carnival project was conceived to take the spirit of innovation mobile, and start a program that could travel to create a more creative, curious, constructive, innovative new generation of students. We conceptualized and implemented this project with ATE Chandra Foundation, from Oct 2018 to Sep 2019. With the help of the most dedicated and passionate team from Agastya, this program sprang into life and continues on. 

"You can see the sparks in the students. You can see them think!"

- Priya, Marico Innovation Foundation

"The children were questioning


- Parth, Marico Innovation Foundation

About the Program

Two Banao Buses travel to 12 schools in Mumbai every two months, engaging upto 40 students in one class, twice a day. The bus visits the school for 7 sessions. At the end of the 7 sessions, students choose a problem area to work on and design a solution using ample tools and materials. 

In the third month, students meet each other at the Curiosity Carnival, to show each other their projects, play with thought-provoking exhibits about sustainability and attend creative workshops. Their school teachers are also engaged in design thinking activities.


About the Sessions

In each of the sessions, students start with a skill-building task and are then given the time to explore that skill through the lens of a step in the design thinking process.

As they go through the sessions, they choose one area in the school to innovate in and start to make a solution for their chosen area. 

Students don't just learn design skills like brainstorming and prototyping, they also learn life skills like communication, collaboration, 

We introduced the instructors to the program with the help of Agastya's Mumbai program manager, Harshali Khandekar. We took the instructors through the seven sessions as if they were the students themselves. We then piloted the Program in Alibaug with one school. This was conducted by the instructors with my supervision.

This gave us the insights to implement the program across 24 schools in Mumbai over two quarters and12 schools in Pune over the next quarter. Students worked on a variety of innovative solutions to make their schools better places to learn and stay happy in. They were guided by a workbook created specifically for this program. 


Students came up with surprising, beautiful, thoughtful, interesting projects and are guided increasingly confidently by four Agastya instructors: Jyoti Salunkhe, Rajratan Wankhede, Ganesh Mhapralkar and Vishal Supate. Their curiosity and continuing enthusiasm keep the program fresh and exciting for all.

Implementation in Schools

Glimpses into the first Curiosity Carnival

After a smaller launch event, the first Carnival hosted over 3000 students from all over Mumbai. All the children who went through the program attended along with at least 2 more grades from their school. We also kept the event open to the public, and 4 private school groups walked in to see the exhibits and attend the workshops. Over 30 government school teachers also signed up for and attended a workshop on using Design Thinking in the classroom and the Constructionist approach to teaching and learning. 

Explore resources to understand more:

Teacher Training Workshop
Digital Interactive Models

Roles and Responsibilities

This project involved a wide range of domain knowledge. From the planning to the execution, we had a lot of control over the outcomes. The work involved drew on intersect fields like:

1. Curriculum Design

2. Material and Tool Expertise

3. Interaction/Industrial Design Mentorship

4. Exhibition/Space Design Mentorship

5. Event Planning and Coordination

6. Teacher Training / Design Thinking Mentorship 

7. Teaching children aged 12 - 16

This project was a great opportunity to grow and experiment with all these fields of knowledge that we had learnt in small parts from other projects but came together beautifully here. The team we worked with from Agastya was extraordinarily dedicated and it was a great first experience with a large NGO.

Teacher Training Workshop
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