Science Fair 2021

Arjun’s science fair project this year was a prototype robotic rover that could detect wildfires. Since this year The University of Mississippi Science and Engineering Lower Fair Region VII was online, he made a video presentation and won first place in Robotics and Intelligent Machines under Class II (grades 4-6). Here is the announcement video to recognize participating students.


Arjun’s Science Fair Abstract: I wanted to develop a robotic system that would help detect bushfires before they reach a size which is hard to control, as it has multiple times in Australia. I built the robot’s frame, then added movement electronics, camera and IR sensor. Once this was done, I programmed the camera. I tested it on two different surfaces, and it was able to move easily, send live camera footage to a computer, and detect the presence of a lighted matchstick. Conclusively, a more advanced version of this prototype could be able to help firefighters detect wildfires when they are at a smaller size.

Arjun’s Video Presentation: Please view the presentation on Prototype of Robotic Rover That Can Detect Wildfires (Total time: 5:44 minutes).

Robot Prototype:

Profile View

Portrait View



Estes Rockets

This week, Arjun assembled the Estes Rocket Science Starter Kit. This Sunday, we went to a nearby field and he launched the rocket. The kit came with three engines, (A8-3: 275 ft; B6-4: 575 ft; C6-5: 1150 ft) and he launched the first one. He forgot to put in the parachute for the first launch, but the rocket suffered no damage. In the second launch, the parachute worked, but the wind carried it to somebody’s backyard. We recovered it, but for the third launch, we went to Veteran’s Park, which is a much bigger area. In the third launch, the rocket went so high, we could not find it.

Launch 1

Launch 2:

Later, Arjun made his own rocket from scratch, and launched on Nov 7, 2020, when the 2020 election results came out. It was made of a paper nose cone, a cardboard body, a straw lug, cardboard fins, and a double A-83 Estes engine.


Summary of Arjun’s 4th Grade

2019-2020 academic year has been difficult for various reasons but academically Arjun has shined and blossomed. He has fulfilled all my expectations academically despite of being sick for majority of this year. Arjun had a “get it done” attitude this year. This is good but I hope he will try to enjoy it too and sometimes take time to go deeper. I think he enjoys learning the subjects he is interested but his interests keep varying so much that it’s best to let him be at this phase of his life.  As far as behavior is concerned, he has become so much neater than before. There was a phase when he had become perfect in this arena but he has started lagging again. Hopefully, he will pick up the slack once again. His anger and rebellious tendency is so much under control. So, even though he has to improve a lot but I am so happy and pleased that he has made a serious effort to make his personality more pleasant. For this, I am proud of him beyond words. Here’s the summary of all he accomplished this year.

Arjun has been accepted to Duke Tip program.

SaxonMath Homeschool 6/5
Life of Fred series – Completed Elementary Series (till Jelly Beans)
Mathological Liar Grade 5 & 6
Khan Academy Grade 5
The Abacus Institute of Mrs. Emily Zhang – Currently working on Pre Mathcount Book 1; Mental Math Grade 8 Book 2; National Standardized Test Grade 5
Cryptography: Math and Codes via CTYOnline – Earned A+ (100%). For final project, he created a movie – The History of Cryptography (17:11 minutes long).

Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Figural – completed
Building Thinking Skills Level 3 Verbal – completed until page 168; will complete this book in grade 5

Bookshark Science Level E
TOPS: Electricity 32
TOPS: Magnetism 33
Janice VanCleave’s Oceans for Every Kid
Snap Circuit – completed 230 projects out of 692 projects.
Healthworks Homeschool Health & PE – 1 semester of bi-monthly classes.
Science Bee – Arjun took the online exam for Science Bee. He got 79 and this score qualified him for Regional Science Bee Competition. We were registered to attend it in Memphis but due to COVID-19, the even got canceled.
Memphis Zoo Homeschool Programs – 3 homeschool classes in Memphis Zoo which includes dissection of frog.

Frog Dissection

Household Chemistry Class via CTYOnline – This course was not graded but he received excellent evaluation. He created a video as part of his Household Chemistry final project.

2 meetings of Stem Challenges with homeschoolers

Science Fair Project – Arjun studied particulate matter in air in various environments: simulated forest fire, neighborhood front yard, ambulance bay, wood carving workshop, Ballard Park (city park), neighborhood backyard, and Tupelo crosstown. His question: which environment generates the maximum particulate emission. For this experiment, he created his own monitor to calculate the particulate matter in air. He didn’t get to present it at Regional Fair due to COVID-19 lockdown.

Language Arts:
Bookshark Language Arts Level E
Daily Grams Grade 5
Easy Grammar Grade 5
Editor in Chief Level 2
Wordly Wise 3000 Book 5
Vocabulary Cartoons: Word Power Made Easy
Natural Speller – completed grade 5 list
Dictation from Lives of The Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (and What the Neighbors Thought) – just 4 biographies left that we will complete in grade 5
Mrs Heather Tate continued to edit and guide all the compositions written by Arjun this academic year. He learnt typing using the typist program in Mac. This helps him as he can now type faster.

Currently, he is doing CTY Online Grammar Fundamentals course.

Bookshark Curriculum Level E
American History II Lap book Kit

US Elections Lap book Kit

Biography – we couldn’t participate in biography fair due to COVID-19. Arjun chose to study one of the great warriors of Indian history whose life taught the real meaning of patriotism – Maharan Pratap. For this, we watched the entire TV serial of “Bharat Ka Veer Putra – Maharana Pratap.” He created a PowerPoint Presentation on Maharan Pratap. Biography is one of the ways that I feel can teach us life lessons. So far, we have watched following Hindi TV serials that will teach culture and life lessons: Ramayan, Mahabharat, Buddha, Jhansi Ki Raani, Maharana Pratap, The Gospel of Luke, The Gospel of Mathew, The Gospel of John, Nanak Shah Fakir, The Message: The Story of Islam, and episodes about Navaratri in Vighnaharta Ganesh. Currently, we are watching the 10 forms of Mahakali in Vighnaharta Ganesh. I don’t know if Arjun gets much out of these serials as he’s so young but hopefully, Kabir does. I know I have learnt a lot about history, geography, religion and culture by watching these serials.
Geography Fair – We participated in 1 geography fair this academic year where Arjun studied and presented Galapagos Island.

Bookshark Curriculum Read Aloud and Readers Level E – we had bought a few audiobooks when Kabir did this curriculum. So, Arjun had the advantage of listening to audiobooks for many books this academic year. If we could find a movie based on the books we read, then we did watch them.
A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa
Poems of Kabir translated by Rabindranath Tagore
Arjun added to Children Books Reviews blog and a Children Books Reviews podcast of all the book reviews he wrote this academic year.

Arjun did weekly classes with Homeschool Spanish Academy and completed Level 1 (scored 100%). The syllabus he covered can be seen in the photo below.

Arjun participated in 1 play this academic year: Candy Coated Christmas Carols. He was one of the shepherds.

Arjun participated in 2 local cooking classes. He cooked and baked a lot this academic year. All these dishes he made on his own and were absolutely delicious.

Arjun volunteered to help at Avonlea Assisted Living only 3 times this academic year. We couldn’t go more frequently this year due to sickness, travel and Covid-19 circumstances.

Arjun took 12 art classes each semester at Party in the Art Room. During COVID-19 situation, the classes were held online. The best art classes he has taken so far is from He completed following courses: Drawing Birds: The Essential Guide, The Ultimate Animal Drawing Course: Beginner to Advanced, Drawing Animals: From Anatomy to Rendering. These art courses at are exactly what brought happiness to his soul.

Arjun took weekly classes with Mrs. Sandy Coutoumanos and completed level 4. During COVID-19 situation, the classes were held online.
National Federation of Music Clubs – Earned superior for Piano American Patriotic Folk Song, Earned superior (5th Consecutive Year) in Piano Solo Primary III; Earned superior (4th Consecutive Year) in Musicianship Theory IV. We had online piano recital.


Arjun managed to attend very few swimming classes – only for 1 semester. This summer, he is learning tennis.

Dog Training:
We got a dog and named her Tara. She is a silken windhound. Arjun had to study a lot about how to take care of dogs and train her in basic obedience. He is the main person who takes care of Tara totally. Also, he did online scent work classes for Tara: Online Beginning Scent Work and Online Beginning Odor Class. He did novice trick training class at Use Your Nose Dog Training Online and Tara earned Trick Dog – Novice title from AKC. Currently, he is doing Rally course.

In Summer 2019, we took Alaskan cruise to Alaska and Arjun had such a good time. On ship, he went on his own to eat his breakfast and lunch and attended talks on Alaskan sea animals, geography and history – all alone. He learnt so much during this trip. We went to San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Peru, and took an American road trip to Yellow Stone National Park, Big Horn, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wounded Knee, and Austin. In October, Arjun and I traveled to India. That’s all the traveling we did this academic year. This academic year was a little tough as there was sickness in our family every few months but it all ended at a good note in the end. So, we didn’t get to travel as much or go to field trips as much.

This academic year, we have felt the divine hand of Shri Mataji on us. As I mentioned before that this academic year has been difficult but it has been blissful too in so many ways. All difficulties did get resolved. We have had memorable family times together at home. I am so happy that Tara joined our family! Tara has made Arjun so responsible and mature. Kabir gets out of his room and away from his computer. Amit is like a young boy playing with Tara. Yes, she is a blessing to our family. My mother-in-law survived open heart surgery. My father-in-law is 80 and doing well. Yes, we have a lot to be thankful and grateful for. So, thank you, Shri Mataji!!!!

End of School Celebration

To celebrate end of school, we did a Thank-You puja to Shri Mataji for a wonderful academic year. Then Kabir did a presentation of all Arjun’s journey this academic year. Next two days, we had online celebration of Kabir’s end of school. So the party continued for three days. The menu for the three days of celebration included: dahi-bhaat (yogurt-rice), salad, potato-kale-leek gratin, homemade mozzarella pizza, dumplings, garlic paneer, chicken kabob, parmesan cauliflower, banana bread pudding, and Italian wedding cookies.

Features of The Ocean Floor & Wave Viewer

Arjun and I studied the features of ocean floor such as continental shelf, rift valley, oceanic ridge, etc.  So he made a model to test his knowledge after studying.

We also learnt about waves. So, Arjun made a wave viewer to show the current of the wave at its crest and trough.