Pioneering Scientific Temper

What does particle physics have to do with poetry or dance? Not much, to the layperson – but it’s all in a day’s work for a Shiv Nadar School student.

It is lunch time on a typical pre-Covid Tuesday afternoon and as usual, the cafeteria at school is abuzz with students. But today they aren’t just there for lunch; a section of middle school students has set up a stall with all kinds of inventions, projects and performances – this is their very own science “show and tell”.

By students and for students, this is one of the numerous activities which is scheduled solely for the purpose of discovering and sharing new ideas, independent of curriculum. Here, concepts aren’t limited to subjects, and science education doesn’t belong in textbooks.

In fact, science is looked at through the prism of intrigue, in a safe space where questions, debates, and discussions are always welcome - right from our youngest learners, to our most experienced educators.


At school, our learners’ first laboratory is nature. Guided nature walks are a part of their day, where children are taught to question everything. Even our youngest students are encouraged to draw inferences through their own observations. And while basic scientific concepts, such as density and other natural phenomena are thus demonstrated at a young age, the emphasis lies in cultivating a scientific temper right from early childhood.

As our learners progress, fascination is injected into every classroom session. Natural curiosity is fostered, as they learn to ask the big questions - what, why and how; the understanding between the educator and the learner being that questioning and critical thinking is at the foundation of the scientific process.

A helicopter-making workshop with Grade 6 – 8 organised with the Scientific Development Research Organisation (SDRO)


Frequently, senior students connect with and mentor primary and middle school learners so that they understand the principles behind projects. This transfer of knowledge is essential, not simply for the sake of knowledge itself, but more so for the confidence it builds in the younger children, encouraging them to trust the scientific process from a young age.

Higher order thinking is emphasised, and creativity is inherent in the process. To encourage children to see concepts in action, students are asked to weave a story through every activity in their day, to see that what they read in textbooks happening all around them. Facts and phenomena come alive; equally so, whether in the classroom, at the cafeteria or say, at the robotics lab.

(A discussion on Chandrayan II in a seminar organised for Grades 3-7)


A scientific temperament becomes inherent to the process by the time students reach high school. Cross-pollination between the students at the three campuses of Shiv Nadar School as well as Vidyagyan Schools as also Shiv Nadar University is emphasised. Through their interactions with the University, our students see science in action at a different scale.

This level of collaboration has been exemplified most recently with the launch of the NucleUS magazine; a scientific endeavour developed through the collaboration between the students and educators of Shiv Nadar School Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Shiv Nadar University. Students have published their own articles through this monthly publication, our teachers facilitating this process. (The magazine can be read over here - NucleUS (


Our teachers serve as the first role models. Mirrored in them, students see the same curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Open dialogue is the hallmark of the teacher-learner bond, and new scientific discoveries and ideas are often shared between them with electric excitement.

(Constructing a Cloud Chamber to verify the existence of Cosmic Radiation, attended by educators from Shiv Nadar School, Vidyagyan and students from SNU)

Our educator Ms Vinita Sharat was recently featured in the prestigious Symmetry Magazine, a Fermilab/SLAC joint publication, in an article about introducing particle physics in the high school classroom. It’s common to find students discussing quarks and leptons with our teachers even till midnight and in the recently held Energy Bootcamp (link to the blog), students were held enraptured watching science experiments till all hours of the night.

Beyond their first role models, interactions with all kinds of national and global luminaries are facilitated as a part of the school experience. Dr Archana Sharma of CERN in Geneva and Dr H C Verma, renowned experimental physicist and author have come in for multiple interactions with the students. Over the last few years, global stalwarts have been frequently invited for sessions with students, most recently, Dr Nitendra Singh, Dr Arvind Kumar, Dr Mohit Sharma, Dr Joyeeta Sinha and more.

(An interactive session with Grade 9 and 11 on the existence of dark matter, dark energy and the Higgs-Boson particle, with Dr. Mick Storr, CERN)



Science activities and experiences at school go above and beyond academic requirements. Domestic and international trips to facilities are a part and parcel of the student experience, for example visits to CERN, Geneva, virtual guided tours of nuclear reactors and so much more. Discussions and collaborations are facilitated within class, of course, but also beyond – intra-school, inter-campus, inter-school and even across international borders.

Take, for example, our recent participation in the Asian Regional Semi-Finals Space Settlement Design Competition in which our students were to form companies in a simulated professional workplace setting. Mentored by global industry leaders, they designed solutions to futuristic aerospace engineering scenarios.

(Students at the Indian International Space Design Competition in 2019)


This platform enabled the students to develop real-world management and industry skills over the span of a few months and facilitated global collaboration with students from schools in different countries coming together. Mission Discovery and the Global Cardboard Challenge are other examples of events in school where students get mentored and inspired by experts from NASA and more.

In today’s world, the foundation of a successful education lies in empowering the innate curiosity in children, as well as strengthening their confidence in the scientific process – a process that involves observing, questioning, testing, analysing, and communicating. Cultivating such a scientific temper ushers a thirst for knowledge and a love for lifelong learning, both of which are essential in pushing the frontiers of science in the 21st century.

Mar 23, 2021 by Shiv Nadar School Noida