NCSC 2023 Focal theme and Sub Themes for National Science Project Competition

National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC 2023) : The seeds of the programme of children’s science congress (CSC), in the way of an exercise to carry out small research activities at micro-level were planned in Madhya Pradesh by an NGO called Gwalior Science Center.

It was later adopted by National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India for carrying out national level activities through NCSTC-Network (a network of Non-Government and Government organizations working in the field of science popularization) as national organizer.

It was a time when many of the country’s crusaders of science communication were experienced with massive science communication exercise of Bharat Jana BigyanJatha and Bharat Jana GyanBigyanJatha.

NCSC 2023 Focal theme and Sub Themes for National Science Project Competition
NCSC Theme 2022-2023 2022-2023 Theme details
NCSC Focal ThemeUnderstanding Ecosystem for Health And Well-being
NCSC Sub theme 1Know your ecosystem
NCSC Sub theme 2Fostering health, nutrition and well-being
NCSC Sub theme 3Social and cultural practices for ecosystem and health
NCSC Sub theme 4Ecosystem based approach (EBA) for self-reliance
NCSC Sub theme 5Technological innovation for ecosystem and health
NCSC Themes

NCSC 2022-2023 Focal Theme: Understanding Ecosystem for Health And Well-being: Ecosystems are the planet’s life-support systems not only for humans but also for all other life-forms. Human survival has fundamental needs for food, water, clean air, shelter and regulated climatic condition. Other benefits derived from an ecosystem include full complement of species, intact watersheds, climate regulation and genetic diversity. Stress of any form on ecological balance, biodiversity, freshwater sources, food- producing systems and climate regulation cause major adverse impacts on health and well-being.

Therefore, understanding ecosystem as life- support-system in terms of its components, interrelationships among the components, role and functions of abiotic and biotic factors, significance of food chain, energy dynamics, ecological services, biodiversity (genetic and species varieties) are very important to develop ecological literacy.

Moreover, understanding human impacts on ecosystems affecting health and well-being are also quite important. It is essential to to know how our activities disturb the ecosystem functions leading to various negative impacts on health and overall well-being. Hence, our daily activities at all levels need rectification and re- designing to reduce the negative impacts on ecosystem and thereby achieving ecosystem sustainability, health safety and security as well as well-being for all.

Sub theme 1: Know your ecosystem – Broadly, this sub-theme will encourage the children to explore, identify and carry out studies on the eco system(s) in their neighborhoods to know about its different components (abiotic and biotic), their inter- relationship, functions, role of certain species in the ecosystems, association of bio diversity with the ecosystems, ecological services, human dependency on the eco system(s) and impact of human activities on the eco system(s).

Focal areas: Exploring and understanding the ecosystem in your neighborhood Freshwater (stream, river, pond, lake, tank etc) Forest, Grassland, Agroforestry, Farmland, Home garden……
Tree as ecosystem or repository biodiversity
Area under Construction Products Regulation
Community-based practices

  • Sub theme 1 Project Ideas
  • Comparison of butterfly populations in urban and rural environs
  • Diversity in the mangrove
  • Diversity of water plants in the local pond/wetland
  • Diversity of water plants in the disturbed pond/wetland and intact pond/wetland
  • Impact of urbanization on the mangrove ecosystem
  • Impact of solid and liquid wastes on the mangrove ecosystem
  • Impact of solid and liquid wastes on the wetlands
  • Diversity of flora and fauna in the sacred grove
  • Comparison of soil organism in sacred grove and agricultural land/plantations
  • Urban birds and their survival tactics
  • Probe in to reasons of the disappearance of sparrows in urban/ rural environs
  • Pollinators in the home gardens
  • Diversity of spiders in the paddy fields and their role in pest control
  • Mixed hunting party of birds in rural areas and their dynamics
  • Birds in the paddy fields
  • Study of heronry and the dynamics
  • Fruit eating birds in the locality and their role in seed dispersal
  • Dragonfly and damselfly diversity in the locality
  • Dragonfly larvae and their role in mosquito larvae control
  • Bird flowers and flower birds
  • Ecosystem restoration of different mined areas
  • Coastal erosion and impacts
  • Change in riparian vegetations in different zones in a river
  • Analysis of change in the local landscape based on satellite images and land surveys
  • Riparian vegetation dynamics and its relation to diversity in aquatic fauna in the locality
  • Earthworm presence and density as an indicator of soil organic content and soil health
  • Study of pollinators in the mustard field.
  • Pollinators and pollination

Sub theme 2: Fostering health, nutrition and well-being: This sub-theme will inspire the children to make scientific inquiry, in their own localities, about situation of health (both human and animal), nutrition and well-being and will also encourage them to make efforts to identify ways and means to fortify well-being at individual, family and community levels.

Focal areas:
Know your health
Know your food
Sources of food in your locality
People’s practices
Myth and reality
Disaster and health safety

  • Sub theme 2 Project ideas:
  • Water disinfection / treatment using solar energy
  • Correlation between junk food and obesity Nutritive value of local / seasonal fruits / vegetables
  • Study of common / local zoonotic diseases
  • Evaluation of level of essential nutrients in food stuffs
  • Impact of climate change on the diseases of humans and/or plants and/or animals
  • Assessment of animal feeds on production
  • Study of food-system in tribals and its impact on their health and well-being
  • Role of public health system on societal well being
  • Study of deficiency diseases and approach to overcome at local level
  • Comparison of balanced diet across cultures
  • Study of methods adopted for physical / social well-being at school level
  • Companion animal health and impact on household well-being
  • Study of nutritional deficiency in the community and means to overcome
  • Analysis of nutritive values of plant-based versus animal-based food for specific ingredient.

Sub theme 3: Social and cultural practices for ecosystem and health: Under this sub-theme children will be inspired to identify, document and validate local socio-cultural practices in their local contexts evolved over a period of time for the protection of ecosystems and their associated services, sustainability, conservative nature way and means such knowledge systems got transferred from one generation to another.

Focal Areas : Understanding the society and culture, people and their practices, interrelation toecosystem and health. I)TKS base frame of references 2) Acquired modern frame of references.3) Induced frame of references

  • Sub theme 3 Project ideas:
  • Agriculture related social and cultural practices leading to non-chemical farming with respect to biological pest and nutrient management.
  • Human animal conflict and linkage to local ecosystem degradation and coping mechanisms.
  • Land use changes causing ecosystem changes leading to flash-floods/land-slides including vulnerability mapping of potential landslide hotspots.
  • Cloud-burst and resultant flooding and its impact on agro-ecosystems.
  • Rain-gardening/farm ponds/soil erosion control measures / Continuous Contour Trenches/ gabion etc. and study of regeneration of green cover over sloppy terrains.
  • Season watch – mango and other fruit orchards / other species / link to local marketing and study the process of flowering .
  • Sacred groves and their importance / role in conservation and local traditions and ecosystem services.
  • Selective and controlled pruning of trees/fodder for cattle rearing / Jack tree leaves for goats etc. as a conservative measure.
  • Role of traditional games/sports and their linkage to health / Physical activity mapping/ seasonal games etc.
  • Food preservation/processing linked to seasonal availability of resources
  • Pest-predator balance in agro-eco systems and cultural pest control measures as opposed to conventional farming / comparative study
  • Study on sustainable menstruation as a means to avoid plastic waste.
  • To study role of rain garden in water recharge.
  • To study the importance of our various festivals/traditional games/toys and their relation with our cultural aspects and mental health.
  • To study traditional biological control methods of pest management and its role in ecosystem.
  • Study on bio fencing plants of local area and its role in a) checking man animal conflict b) conservation of eco system.
  • Scientific study on traditional method of food storage processing and its role in ecosystem.
  • Study on land use and its role in ecosystem conservation by sea buckthorn(Hippophae)[In reference to local area of Leh- ladakh]
  • Study on local community knowledge of polyherbal medicine to control tick infection in Dairy Animals in eco-friendly way.

Sub theme 4: Ecosystem based approach (EBA) for self-reliance: Children, under this sub-theme, will get scope to identify the prospects and study / explore how integrated management of land, water and living resources promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Children can also study the wide range of ecosystem management activities that increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people and the environment to climate change. Various approaches based on different ecosystems can be studied and explored by children under this sub-theme.

Focal areas: I) EBA in farm-based practices. 2) EBA in human settlement development and planning. 3) EBA in architecture. 4) EBA in drainage planning. 5) EBA in disaster risk reduction. 6) EBA in water management. 7) EBA in climate change adaptation and resilience development. 8) EBA in industrial planning. 9) EBA in tourism, recreation, and hospitality management.

  • Sub theme 4 Project ideas:
  • Study of dependency of a village on the nearby forest.
  • Documentation of the wild edibles from different habitats
  • Assessment of current scenarios of different natural resources
  • Management of solid waste in urban areas- Reduce, Segregation, Collection
  • (efficiency), Transportation, Resource recovery, Disposal.
  • Study of impact of traditional agriculture on water harvesting system.
  • Study of propagations techniques of different wild edibles.
  • Study of restoration practices (indicative) for degraded ecosystems.
  • Study of different man-made habitats like gardens and other open spaces
  • Study of aquatic flora to reduce water pollution.
  • To study different practices of crop rotation, relay cropping,
  • To study the diversity of birds in agriculture systems and their role.
  • Study of mushroom cultivation.
  • Study of beekeeping and its role in maintaining the ecosystem.
  • Effect on food supply chain during pandemic.
  • Study and documentation of food preservation practices for crisis period.
  • Study of per capita water resource availability (domestic use) for a village
  • Study of salt tolerant and salt loving plants in coastal agroforestry and agriculture.
  • Study of aquaponics cultivation.
  • Study of different groundwater recharge practices.
  • Study of role of vegetation in water percolation, retention, anderosion.
  • Integrating plants and water for cooling and air conditioning within buildings.
  • Micro watershed mapping.
  • Study on After effect of flash floods, storms, landslides.
  • Water usages in packaged water bottle vs from Tap bottle water
  • Study of road killed small vertebrates and invertebrates

Sub theme 5: Technological innovation for ecosystem and health: This sub-theme will encourage children to find local-level problems and take initiatives for developing local technological solutions from the perspectives of green technology, appropriate technology, information and communication technology or improvising traditional technology based on the principles of frugal innovation.

Focal Areas : Health & Wellbeing Related – Health information system. Stress management Improving nutritional inputs. Health communication. Promoting healthy lifestyles. Eco System Related – Soil conservation Water management. Disaster risk reduction. Human Wildlife Conflict management. Invasive species control. Waste management. Farm-based management. Strengthening Ecosystem services.

  • Sub theme 5 Project ideas:
  • Biomass (Algae, Bio-residue, waste, etc.) as green energy
  • Design and development of simple and economical devices for measuring water quality
  • Appropriateness of water purifiers
  • Technology for potable drinking water delivery during flood
  • Design, development of a solar water still for coastal and brackish water areas
  • To develop a simple tool for measuring water table depth in tube well
  • Bamboo as a sustainable engineering material.
  • Solar/ biomass-based crop dryers for farmers
  • Simple technology for weather monitoring (measurement of rainfall, wind, solar radiation duration, humidity, etc.)
  • Technologies for person with disability
  • Grey water treatment using plants and microorganisms.
  • Use of Biochar to improve moisture and nutrient retention in soil
  • To study traditional fishing tools and gears and its modification to make it more efficient and productive
  • Rain water harvesting accessories
  • Comparative study of thermal performance of traditional and modern houses
  • Exploring electric mobility
  • Measuring specific heat of water and appreciating its role in ecosystem maintenance
  • Information and communication technology (ICT) for decentralized health care delivery to develop a frugal process
  • Application of artificial intelligence for estimating market demand for agri-products
  • To study micro climate condition at the habitat level
  • To develop solutions for stubble burning issue
  • To explore the use of fruit and vegetable waste for extraction of value-added materials like pectin or pigments

NCSC 2020-2021 Focal ThemeMain theme is “Science for Sustainable Living

SUB THEMES for NCSC 2020-2021:

I. Eco System for Sustainable Living
II. Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Living
III. Social Innovation for Sustainable Living
IV. Design, Development and Modelling for Sustainable Living
V. Traditional Knowledge System (TKS) for Sustainable Living

It was felt that the large scale activities for developing science awareness among the masses are to be continued as regular activity, so, this programme was launched nationwide in 1993, under nomenclature National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC), with an expectation that it would generate scientific temperament among the teachers and students, and spread among the various stakeholders of the society. The programme of NCSC has been fruitfully conducted for the last 21 years.

Children’s Science Congress is targeted to spread the concept of the method of science among the children their project activities adopting the principle of learning through doing’.

The mandate of participation is that, the children will carry out a project on a particular topic in relation to theme and sub-theme decided for the year. The study is to be carried out in the neighbourhood of the children where they live.

The exercise of project activities, as thumb rule, encourages the children to explore, think, serve and wonder. It is capable to imbibe the following temperament/quality/skill of the children:
Observation
Making measurement,
Making comparison and contrasts,
Classification,
Estimation,
Prediction,
Interpretation,
Critical thinking,
Creative thinking,
Drawing conclusion and
Cooperative skill

NCSC 2014 Focal theme: Understanding Weather and Climate and Sub Themes

Weather is the instantaneous state of the atmosphere, or sequence of states of the atmosphere with time, which can be defined as the condition of the atmosphere at any given time and place.

Climate, on the other hand, is the average as well as variability of weather conditions prevailing in an area over a long period of time, known also as the Statistics of Weather.

Precipitation, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, and wind are the important elements of weather and climate. It is the result of the interaction of four basic physical elements- the Sun, the Earth’s atmosphere, the Earth itself, and natural landforms on the Earth’s surface.

Weather and climate of a particular location are also governed by natural factors like geographical position (in terms of latitude, longitude and altitude), distribution of land and water, distance from water bodies, surface cover etc.

Weather and climate are the vital factors determining the nature, condition and pattern of natural resources (e.g. water, soil, flora, and fauna). Collective expressions of the state of temperature, humidity and precipitation within a year in different seasons as well as in long term basis determine the forms of water, soil-forming processes and create support systems for the floral growth, which in turn regulates faunal composition of a locality.

These natural resource bases along with weather and climate determine the way of life of human being. Thus, the economic framework and cultural composition of a locality is also dependent on the weather and climate and hence, any significant change in these two key factors has a profound impact not only on natural resources but also on the entire biosphere.

Increased level of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been identified as the key factor of global climate change, the most important global environmental challenge being faced by humanity today. As per IPCC Reports, 2013, on an average, temperature has increased by roughly 1.53°F (0.85ºC) from 1880 to 2012.

India’s weather and climate are mainly governed by her geographical location, surrounding boundary conditions (the Himalayas, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal).

Further, the variations in land and water distribution within the country, altitudinal differences, vegetation type and cover along with the variations of sunshine hours within the country due to its latitudinal and longitudinal extension are clubbed together to divide the country into six climatic zones and twelve agro-climatic zones differing from each other quite significantly.

But these climatic and agro-climatic zones are facing serious problems of various kinds due to the impact of climatic/ weather anomalies. For more than one decade weather and climatic anomalies are taking place in all the agro-climatic regions of the country.

Moreover, one major element of climatic control in the country, the Indian Monsoon, was found to be altering in terms of its onset, amount and distribution of rainfall across the country, which clearly indicates probable impacts on the country’s economy.

In this context, there is a need to have proper understanding of weather and climate and its changes, mainly oriented towards different aspects and attributes of weather and climate along with their implications on the natural ecosystem and on the livelihood of human beings. At the same time, focus on climate change combats, including mitigation and adaptation are also strongly recommended.

Sub-theme I: Weather Around You
Weather is the immediate physical environmental situation we face in our daily life and has impact on our decisions related to food, clothing and overall lifestyle. But systematic approaches to understand weather are very rare in our lives.

Therefore, systematic attempt to understand weather of a locality/area will be the main concern of this sub-theme. This will help the children to take more precise and pragmatic decisions in relation to weather related aspects.

Such systematic studies can be carried out through methodological approaches of observation and measurement of weather attributes, analysis of collected information and results of measurement followed by forecasting and interpretation of findings and correlating the same with decision making context and processes.

Project Ideas:
Measuring weather attributes like temperature, daily sun shine hours, humidity, wind, precipitation, etc along with other elements like presence of gaseous components, suspended solid particles, comparison of the collected information with the available daily weather information from News Paper, TV /Radio weather bulletin and website of Indian Meteorological Department; time period based trend analysis and its relevance in local context.

Children are encouraged to design and develop their own tools and instruments for measurement and analysis. However, some experimental and field based measurement of components must be there in such studies instead of simple information collection.

Sub-theme – II: Impact of Human Activities on Weather and Climate
Exponential growth of human population in the last two centuries has increased the pressure on environmental resources required for the survival and sustenance of human being.

This has also influenced the weather conditions and climate locally and globally. The growth in agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries, urbanisation, transportation, deforestation and industrialisation caused changes in land use and biogeochemical cycles. Similarly, exploration and utilisation of energy sources for the increasing demands of the growing society pumped in large quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere causing global warming.

Understanding the process and importance of greenhouse effect, carbon dioxide and other green house gas cycling between earth and atmosphere are the key components of this subtheme.

Moreover, it is also required to understand that; climate across the world has changed so rapidly that adaptation to this change is a big challenge for the biosphere. Children also need to realize the contribution of human activities like fossil fuel burning, deforestation etc towards these unexpected changes in climate.

Further, they also need to be made aware of the results of this human induced climate change, such as weather disasters, disease spread, heat stress, drought, water shortage, crop yield decline, sea level rise, large scale migration and such other.

Project Ideas:
Study on green house gases and their sources, human activities releasing green house gases to atmosphere, study on natural calamities related to weather and climate and role of human activity in enhancing the same. They can also design and propose scientific and logistic alternatives to improve human life along with controlling or reducing negative impacts of human activities on climate.

Sub-theme – III:Weather, Climate and Ecosystems
Climatic parameters influence abiotic and biotic components of our environment. Elements like rainfall, temperature, wind and humidity have effect on the occurrence, abundance, seasonality and Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors (such as elevation).

Biotic components are the living things that shape an ecosystem. A biotic factor is any living component that affects another organism, including animals that consume the organism in question, and the living food that the organism consumes.

Biotic factors include human influence.
Abiotic components, are non-living components of an organism’s environment, such as temperature, light, moisture, air currents, etc
behaviour of living organisms as well as quality of air, water and soil, thus governing various ecosystems either directly or indirectly. Variations in temperature, humidity and precipitation pattern may lead to changes in water quality, soil formation, floral growth and faunal composition of any ecosystem.

In turn, biotic components also impart impact on microclimate of the same. On the other hand, macro scale climate variability can also result in disasters like floods, droughts, unprecedented rains, inconsistencies in seasonal temperature etc on various ecosystems.

Under this sub theme, we need to understand and observe the changes in weather parameters as well as the changes in biotic and abiotic parameters around us. This will enable us to study the effect of the weather/climate on ecosystems.

Systematic observations, measurement and analysis of weather parameters and the biotic and abiotic elements make us understand effect of these parameters on the functioning of ecosystem. Response of biotic and abiotic components towards climatic elements, along with phonological study can be studied under this sub-theme.

Project ideas:
Effect of weather parameters on abundance of flora and fauna and seasonality, movements, breeding, feeding and other behaviour patterns, behaviour of domesticated animals, seasonality of occurrence and flowering of plants, migration of birds, fishes and insects etc.

Changes in pH, temperature, organic matter of soil and water with seasons, quality of air in terms of air pollutants can also be studied. Effect of light period, light intensity, atmospheric temperature, humidity and soil moisture on growth of plants, Stomata count as surrogate for the production of Oxygen, calculation of Carbon sequestration in different urban and rural gardens etc can be conducted by children as simple experiments.

Sub-theme – IV: Weather, Climate – Society and Culture
Weather and climate also determine our way of life in the form of belief, livelihood, and social, institutional as well as cultural practices. These together reflect the social and cultural system of a locality/area/region.

The social and cultural systems have an adaptation mechanism to local weather and climatic situation through its practices fulfilling basic needs of food, shelter and clothing through designed livelihood activities, food system, settlement and housing, management of natural resources etc.

However, certain social and cultural practices may also have indirect negative impacts on weather and climate parameters through their affect on natural resources. On the contrary, indigenous knowledge based socio-cultural practices also help many human societies in facing and coping up with extreme weather situations.

Project Ideas:
Systematic studies on local food practices, its seasonality and adjustments to weather situation, local calendar system, agricultural cycle and adjustments with weather, flood/draught adjustment approaches of different community/ locality; traditional knowledge on weather prediction, cultural practices and its impact on ecosystem, weather situation etc. It is expected that the studies taken up would try to establish the science behind these practices along with the societal efforts to adopt with climate change.

Sub-theme – V: Weather, Climate and Agriculture
Agriculture is a climate dependent economic activity. Hence, it is most vulnerable to weather and climate changes because of its seasonality and narrow range of weather conditions influencing crop and livestock production.

Climate change presents a profound challenge to food security vis-a-vis livelihood and development all around as well. Climatic hazards like flood, drought, and snowfall have effects on agriculture and allied sectors in a numerous way. Similarly, modern agricultural practices also play a vital role in climate change though its effect on green house gas emission, soil carbon sequestration, desertification etc.; thus establishing a both way relationship between agriculture and climate systems.

Project Ideas:
Observation of weather regulating factors and their impact on agricultural system, finding some method/technique to mitigate the negative impacts, practices related with seed selection, irrigation, soil management etc useful for adaptation.

Children can also carry out study in different aspects of agriculture, right from seed selection, land preparation to harvesting and processing etc; it may be on how weather condition influences on agricultural practices; impact of changing condition on agriculture; impact of agricultural practices on local weather condition, how to overcome the adverse climatic weather condition for agricultural practices.

Sub-theme – VI: Weather, Climate and Health
Weather and climate not only influences environmental and social determinants but also affect health of the living beings. Health – as defined by World Health Organization, is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely absence of disease.

Health, whether of human or animal, mainly depends up on safe drinking water, nutrition, sanitation or hygiene and the likes. Likewise, any variation in the weather or climatic conditions adversely affects the health of living beings. Outcome of these changes; heat or cold waves, drought or flood, storms etc., takes its toll on the health, manifested by occurrence of a disease, or even sometimes as an outbreak.

Project Ideas: Causative factors, concerns arising and corrective measures of ailments like water / air / vector borne diseases (diarrhoea, malaria), infections (bacterial or viral) and infestations (parasitic), zoonosis, re-emergence of certain diseases and others which are influenced by the variability of weather and climate. – NCSC Details.

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