Hari Bhimaraju, young creator of the Elementor Periodic Table accessible app and Broadcom MASTERS winner spoke to my summer school class via Adobe Connect in a webinar type discussion.
The class was composed of students Hari's age with a focus on Sean Covey's "The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective Teen". As Hari truly exemplifies qualities of an effective teen, as well as the critical thinking so important in science, it occurred to me that the students would find a discussion with her very inspiring. My hunch proved correct. Hari was excited to speak to the group and led a thoughtful discussion, of course, incorporating the scientific method.
The heart of science is questioning and observation.
Hari began her discussion by having the students contemplate questions like "How can insects walk on water?", "Why does a boat float, but a man sink?" She then tied in asking questions to working toward a goal, connecting the steps of the scientific method with problem solving. Students were asked to consider questions that they had contemplated. When students had a hard time at first coming up with questions, one young man piped up with a related question, "Why do we forget?"
The students were given a chance to discuss their individual goals with Hari and some asked for her suggestions and feedback. She tied her answers in to appropriate tech when possible. One young lady even mentioned an interest in becoming a scientist.
I asked Hari about complications that she had to overcome as she worked toward creation of the app, "Periodic Table Elementor". She mentioned several including the need to learn new coding programs in order to complete the app. Her original plan included only atomic structure, but she eventually decided to include information on valence electrons and radioactivity in the accessible app.
Developing Good Habits to Reach Goals
Hari then broadened the discussion to include the importance of developing good habits in order to reach your goals. She focused on habits that had served her well in life including organization and neatness. She offered students the opportunity to speak about their good habits and challenged all students to participate "at least once" in the discussion.
After Hari described qualities of each type of leader according to the Medicine Wheel Native American tradition, Hari involved the students in a discussion of leadership qualities. The students were asked to consider which type of leader each most related to (eagle, buffalo, bear, or mouse). Students volunteered to tell the group which type of leader he/she most related to and why.
In closure, Hari encouraged students to consider what matters to each of them and to produce something (written, video, art, etc.) which describes their values. As an example, she ended with an engaging video she had made that describes what matters to her.
Hari displays such a desire to make a difference in the lives of students with visual impairment and to use her gifts and abilities to serve others. The students all mentioned afterward that they felt involved in the discussion and were quite inspired by Hari. They wrote her notes and several students drew pictures for me to send. Personally, I was very inspired by the quote that Hari shared, - one of her family's favorites: "Character is higher than intellect."
It is evident that Hari has an abundance of both.