An E-Toys Solar System Simulation in India


Here's an interesting video for your weekend enjoyment. At OLPC India's Khairat school deployment, a teacher made a solar system simulation using E-Toys on the XO laptop. Now that's cool!

Who knows what's on the other laptop though, all that text was squiggly lines to me.

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This was great! I've seen some Opera widgets that simulate the solar system but they overwhelm the xo's modest processing capacity.

I love showing very young friends new activities when I see them at my coffee it too much to hope that this would be shared somewhere?


I see around 20 children in the classroom, no chairs and no desks. I think I saw some paper to the left, but I could not spot any books.

Is this typical for (rural) India?

I did read and earlier post that told us that school in India is often nothing more than day-care. And the caring part is often missing too. I would love to see some comments to integrate this video into the wider scope of Indian primary education.


When I went to primary school in 1980’s we use to have three different kind of Solar System Simulations.

1) One made out of wire and polystyrene. The wire was holding the polystyrene sun and the planets in right distance from each other. One could also turn them to see how they move in the solar system. That was cool.

2) One made to the sandy sport field. With teacher we drew the solar system to the sand by using stick and a long measuring tape. When it was ready we (the pupils) were playing the role of planets, moons etc by running on our trajectories. That was awesome.

3) One written on a computer running MS DOS. The math/science teacher was able to program a simple solar system simulation on a PC computer. You could watch the planets flying on a screen. That was …ah…. boring.

I just posted this video on youtube for a presentation I did at SF State University to a class of Elementary and Early Childhood Ed. folks. [See for the whole set of slides]. I'm trying to get them to use "OLPC" as a topic for their class projects. Interesting how it got "found" by you! Thanks for posting.

Yes, this is at Khairat, from my visit in Nov 2008. See photos at

Although not typical of many government schools in India, this school does not have any chairs or desks. The school is a single classroom school and caters to 30 children. They have one teacher (Mr. Sandeep Surve) who teaches everything.

I visited two other schools, where the state government provides textbooks, rooms and a mid-day meal, but the classrooms are too small for the population. For example, the rooms are designed to hold 30 to 35 children. The class population is typically at 90 or 100, resulting in the children sitting under a tree. You can see photos from Bhagmalpur village school at

Books are usually 1:1 for each student, but the same does not go for notebooks. You can see stats from a typical Uttar Pradesh government school at

"Who knows what's on the other laptop though, all that text was squiggly lines to me."

The "squiggly text on the other laptop" is the girl's name and village that she's from. The script is Devanagari (देवनागरी), used in Hindi and Marathi.

She wrote: "Manisha Ramchandra Jhorey, Bastishala Khairat Ghangharwadi"

Loosely translates to her name and her school. My Marathi is quite weak though, so ... :-)

I'd like to know how the simulation actually work and who wrote it.

It is very easy to make one if you don't make "simulation" but a kind of animation; you can easily make something go on circle by "forward by" and "turn by" tiles. The problem is that this is *not* how a planet orbits around a star. You need a few more lines to change the speed (x and y components) and some other tricks. To get some kids to understand that point and have them implement the simulation, it is a lot of work for the teacher.

You need to look at the class, it is not a typical class for sure in India. Classes there are just like all over the world where desks and chairs are in rows and pupils listens to the teachers.

This applies even in developed countries.

Look .. it is proven here... having one laptop per child is more of a hype than anything.

When you put one laptop for each child these children are more interested in fiddling with their new "toys" then listen to the teacher to teach a subject.

Just look at the video. This happens everywhere where each child is given a computer including many videos I have seen in USA where OLPCs were given.

Many a time you see a teacher holding up the small OLPC in front of the screen to explain what I do not know but rather put a show for the cameraman.

Imagine a OLPC in each table and many having to recharge!! Wires all over the place?

Can anyone tell us anywhere in the world to show this concept is possible and has been adopted nationally ?


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