Science is a subject that can seem intimidating to learn. Because of this, there is a reluctance to learn about the subject and some students may even strongly dislike the subject. Making science fun will not only make it understandable, it will create an interest in learning. Taking the stigma out of science can make it something students will enjoy. Making science fun can include:
- Hands-on Activities
- Showing How Science Relates to Real Life
- A Multidisciplinary Approach
- Being Creative
Field trips, lab work and projects add life to a course that is dominated by textbook work. There is an array of activities that can illustrate science principles. Make magic in chemistry class by demonstrating what different types of chemical interactions can create. Adding scientific games, model making and multimedia activities are a few ways to infuse fun into the subject.
Show Real Life Use of Scientific Principles
Science is filled with theories and formulas. Unfortunately, the highly-technical aspects may not spark an interest in some people or can get lost in translation for others. Put the theories and formulas into context. A reason science is difficult to learn has to do with the fact that students cannot relate. It can be hard to learn something when the concepts are not understood. Explain the scientific connection of what is learned in class to everyday life. Not only will this make it interesting, but students will have fun discovering that they are surrounded by science.
Take a Multidisciplinary Approach
Some students may enjoy a multidisciplinary approach. Discuss the time period when a particular discover was made. For example, talking about Louis Pasteur’s discoveries and how they were revolutionary at the time and the effects they have on the world. Another idea is to incorporate the use of journals. Journals will not only help to reinforce the material, it helps teach writing skills.
Remember that science is being taught to students that may not be science oriented. Integrate a creative approach. Label common ingredients with scientific names and devise experiments where students get to see the scientific process behind common activities. People tend to remember things that standout. Creating fun mnemonics can help with material memorization. Also, add humor to science. An unexpected dose of humor helps make science seem more approachable.
Science does not have to be boring, or a subject that causes anxiety for those that learn it. Taking a creative, fun and hands-on approach can ignite and interest in science. Following these tips to making science fun will not only make the material enjoyable, it will help students learn.
About the Author
Jo Harris is a writer and the Director of Content for the Morgan Law Firm,
an Austin, Texas divorce firm.
Please visit; Morgan Law Firm Blog for additional content.
Time is something that we have trouble keeping track of. Keeping accurate time is virtually impossible for the average person, but thanks to atomic clocks, we all can be in sync with the world. Our first Science in the News for this school year is entitled Keeping Accurate Time with Atomic Clocks. It helps students understand why accurate time is important and how complex it is to be so precise. This article is a preview of the Measurements issue of Spigot Science for Kids and Classrooms, which will be published in October.
To help teachers use this tool effectively, vocabulary, comprehension, research topics, and an activity are included with the article.
Science in the News is published monthly from September to May. Premium members of Spigot Science may download this and any of the other of the 13 articles to use with students. If you are not a Premium member, you can receive a significant discount on membership for a short time. Check out the details on the Spigot Science web site and sign up today!
Give her the vocabulary to describe the problem and talk about her feelings. One of the first steps in problem solving is being able to define the problem, including telling the other person how you feel. When children are young you are able to guess at how they may be feeling in different circumstances and verbalize their feelings for them. For example, when an infant struggles to reach a toy that’s out of reach you can say, “You’re frustrated that you can’t reach the toy.” When a toddler begins to cry after a favorite truck is taken away by a playmate you can say, “It makes you angry when Sam takes your truck away from you without asking first.” When a preschooler gets ignored by a group of kids on the playground you can say, “I bet you feel sad when other kids don’t give you the chance to play with them.” As children get older, they will be able to describe the situation they’re facing and how they feel about it. This is the first step in working towards a solution.
Give her choices from an early age. Kids that have strong problem solving skills think in terms of options. When you ask your child if she’d rather wear shorts or a skirt to school, if she’d like eggs, waffles, or yogurt for breakfast, or if she’d like to go to the park before or after she finishes her homework, you’re showing her that there are many answers to most questions. Instead of simply telling her what her next move should be, you’re encouraging her to think about the pros and cons of each choice and then make the choice that best meets the needs of situation. So when she’s faced with a problem she’s more likely to think about the possibilities that are available and not simply look to you or another person to solve the problem for her.
Practice problem solving in calm situations. Problem solving is a learned skill. Like other skills, the more kids practice it the better they become at it. Offering children ongoing opportunities to solve problems that don’t have a strong emotional charge is an effective way to teach them the process of assessing the situation, coming up with possible solutions, and deciding on the best approach. The good news is that your child brings you lots of non-emotionally charged problems throughout the day, although they may not look like problems on the surface. They usually look like “How do I do that?” questions. For example, your preschooler may say, “I want to bring my pony collection to show and tell tomorrow but I can’t find it.” Instead of asking her when she last played with it or suggesting she look in the black bin in the play room say, “You want to bring your collection to school but you don’t know where it is. Hum, what ideas do you have to solve that problem?” Kids love to come up with creative ideas that they can act on. Maybe she’ll make a map of where she played yesterday, maybe she’ll search each room from right to left or maybe she’ll ask her older sister if she’s seen it. The ideas she comes up with are less important than the process she’s learning to use.
Talk in positive language. Attitude means a lot when it comes to solving problems. When children are surrounded by positive talk it becomes a habit for them too. They look to the possibilities of a situation rather than the obstacles or limitations.
Model problem solving skills in your own life. Like most things, the best way to teach great problem solving skills is to model them for your child. Instead of figuring things out in your head, talk through even the smallest problems that you face throughout the day. This will give your child a good feel for the process, help her understand how brainstorming works, and show her that if Solution A doesn’t work out, you move onto Solution B then Solution C. By modeling this type of behavior you can teach her how to solve problems with a positive attitude.
Kids that have good problem solving skills are well equipped to deal with the problems that regularly come up in everyday life. Armed with a positive attitude and a solid understanding of the process, they can successfully tackle the challenges that they may face.
Find a Nanny.net at; http://www.findananny.net
Tap into Learning...Save on a Premium Membership!
Be sure to be a premium member in time for the release of our next publication this fall. Students will learn the many dimensions of measurement and measurement systems, taught from a multi-curriculum perspective.
The deepest parts of our oceans are among the least explored and most unknown places on Planet Earth. Through the use of submarines and remotely operated devices, scientists are discovering what life exists in the deep ocean. Students will learn about what movie director James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic, and more) saw on his recent dive into the Challenger Deep near Guam. We also share what scientists are finding by using remote probes that actually snoop BENEATH the ocean’s floor!
Discussion questions, vocabulary, and activities are included for a deeper understanding of the topic. READ MORE
Nomad Press has once again put together a fantastic book, this one is all about the Wild West.
Let's explore what you can expect to find;
Introduction ~ Begin the exciting journey
Chapter One ~ Where Was the Wild West - Location, location, location
Chapter Two ~ Gold Rush Miners - Learn who they were and what all the fuss was about
Chapter Three ~ Moving West - Why so many people headed west
Chapter Four - Pioneer Life - Food, clothing and what it took to be a pioneer
Chapter Five - Frontier Towns and Lawmen - Yes there was towns and a police-force to protect them
Chapter Six - Native People in the West - The first people to live there
Chapter Seven - Cowboys - Yippee Kiyha! Learn about these western-wonders
Each chapter of "Explore the Wild West" has "Words to Know" to help your child expand his vocabulary, "Did You Know" that gives interesting facts, and of course, great projects that can be done with ordinary, household items. In fact there's 25 projects, like "Make Your Own Panning for Gold Tray" (pg. 19) and "Make Your Own Mini Quilt" (pg. 48), plus 23 more fun and educational projects
Check out, Explore the Wild West and other Nomad Explore titles here. This book is perfect for kids 6-9.
Want to win a copy of, Explore the Wild West? Leave me a comment in this blog post. I will do a random draw on Sunday August 26th for one lucky winner. Good Luck!
When a child is young and impressionable it is the best time to instill a love for science. Their curiousity about the world around them allows them to soak up knowledge quickly and inspires them to want to learn more. This young age is a perfect time to start encouraging a child's interest in all things scientific. Teaching Science doesn't need to be expensive. Combining activities and supplies with promo codes is a great way to save money at the same time encouraging a love for science.
It's no fun to learn about science alone. Getting your child involved in organizations like the Scouts and 4H will help them to meet other children that share their love for all things science. Together they will be able to explore experiments and learn outside of the classroom.
Children love to explore. Whether it's the woods or the basement, mysteries intrigue them, and science is no different. For example, help them research how roller coasters work or how to build a computer. Activities like this not only help them to use their creative minds but give them the foundation to build on as well.
Take a Trip
Not only is this something the entire family can do together, it's also a great way to teach. Take a trip to a science museum, tour the zoo, planetarium or the local aquarium to get your child interested in science and the way things work.
Take a Nature Walk
Communing with nature is a good way to get children interested in plants and animals. Even a day out at the park can teach kids the way that nature works without them even knowing they are learning.
Activities at Home
Some of the best ways to encourage a child's interest in science begin at home. Nothing is more fun to a child than doing projects with their parents. Start with simple Play-Doh creations and work your way up to volcanos and things that use electricity as your child advances. Always make sure that you prepare things ahead of time and don't worry about the mess. Children love to make a mess without having to worry about the cleanup!
Toys are a concrete way to spark an interest in science and keep it going. The hands on approach has worked with children for decades to help them learn any matter of subjects. Science toys can help them to learn about astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics even as the subjects get harder to understand. Some toys used to keep their interest are microscopes, simple chemistry kits, and telescopes. These items have fascinated children for years and they never grow tired of learning with them.
Following the tips above will help you foster a love for learning in your child while they are at their most willing to learn. The fact remains that learning starts in the home, and the more you are willing to be a part of your children's love for science, the more they will be willing to explore and learn.
About the Author:
Susan Dickson is a freelance writer who specializes in parenting and relationship articles. She is working on her first book in young adult fiction.
Just in time for another fabulous school year, Spigot is getting a whole new look coming later this month. It's the same great publication for science, only better.
Check us out on the web at; www.spigotscience.com
Bacteria, algae, and plankton are one-celled organ-isms. They can only be seen with a microscope.
Number of cells in the human body
Another way to say it: 1014 or one hundred trillion (That’s 100,000 million!)
As you may know, when kids get a break from school for the summer, they often come back in the fall with a decline in reading and academic skills. The good news is that the so-called "summer slide" can be avoided if kids read as few as four books over the summer.
Open Road Media has created a campaign to help educators and parents fight the summer slide with recommended reading, excerpts of books found on summer reading lists, and videos from authors who create books that are geared toward reluctant readers. We've culled recommended reads for kids of all ages—from those on the "see-saw" (kids who are pre-reading) to those who are "mastering the monkey bars" (reluctant readers) to "high-flyers on the swings" (books for middle-schoolers and teens).
Want to win a FREE ebook from Open Road Media? Leave me a comment in this blog spot about which book you'd like to receive (contact info as well, please). I will do a random draw on Sunday July 29th for one lucky winner.
Not only is Spigot Science a great publication, it initiates thought provoking questions for further discussion opportunities;
Discussion 1. Why are cells sometimes called strange and mysterious?
2. Why do cells grow and change? Why do they die?
3. What evidence do we have that that the cells in our bodies are undergoing changes?
4. Why are cells called building blocks?
5. Why do the words associated with cells have foreign-sounding names?
Spigot Science at; http://www.spigotscience.com
Today is a great day! My name is Trevor, and it’s been exactly three years since I had the bone marrow transplant that saved my life. Dr. Brown and I spent a lot of time together when I was in the hospital. Now I visit her once a year to make sure I’m still healthy.
When I was eight years old, I got really sick. I was tired all the time and I got bruises really easily. Then I developed a sore throat that wouldn’t heal. When I wasn’t getting any better, my mom took me to Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Brown gave me the scary news that I was sick with a disease called leukemia (loo-KEE-mee-uh), a kind of cancer in my blood. I needed immediate medical care!
Here are some quotes about cells. Pick one of the quotes and tell in your own words what it means. Share your meaning with others and see if they have different ideas about it.
"Everything you'll ever need to know is within you; the secrets of the universe are imprinted on the cells of your body."
Dan Millman, teacher/coach/author
"Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied."
Arnold H. Glasgow, American humorist
"Stem cells have the potential to be used to treat and better understand some of the world's most deadly and disabling diseases."
Mark Udall, politician
READ MORE... http://www.spigotscience.com
How Kids Can Stay Sharp Academically Over the Summer
By Rick and Teena Kamal
When students think of summer time, they often look forward to beach trips, playing outdoors, hanging out with friends, and sleeping late. While these are all indulgences that kids deserve after a long, hard school year, too much of a good thing can have negative consequences come next school year. In fact, it’s a well-known fact that students lose an average of two months’ worth of instruction over the summer, forcing teachers to spend the first few weeks or more of the school year remediating instead of introducing new concepts. Luckily, staying sharp academically during the summer months doesn’t have to be a grueling process. Given the right resources and techniques, helping your child retain the necessary skills to continue down the path of achievement can be fun—for both parents and kids alike!
Here are some summer enrichment activities and strategies you can begin implementing as soon as the final school bell rings to prevent summer learning loss from affecting your child’s academic performance:
Reach Out to Your Child’s Teacher(s)
The first step in preventing summer learning loss is to talk to your child’s teacher(s). Find out which skills are necessary for your child to have in order to succeed academically during the following year. The teacher may also be able to give you insight into which areas your child in particular needs to work on in order to be proficient in the next grade level. You might also ask your child’s teacher to point you in the direction of useful resources and possibly summer enrichment activities and programs to enhance your summer learning efforts.
We all know that one of the very best ways to learn is through reading. Luckily, summer offers hours and hours’ worth of potential reading opportunities. Encourage your child to read at least an hour each day by offering him reading material directly related to his interests. When choosing texts, be sure to pick titles that are appropriate to your child’s reading level.
You can further foster your child’s enthusiasm for literacy by engaging in summer enrichment activities that include reading. For instance, many public libraries host summer reading programs for young children. These programs often feature crafts, puppets, singing, and other such activities that help your child associate reading with having fun.
For older children, creating a book club is an excellent way to promote summer learning through reading. Your club can consist of just the two of you, or you may consider inviting neighbors or school friends to join in as well. Participating in discussions about reading materials can help your child learn to interpret and analyze texts, a necessary academic skill across the curriculum.
Take Advantage of Teaching Moments
Not all summer enrichment activities require careful planning. Some can be purely spontaneous. Learning opportunities are all around us, after all. Make an effort to turn ordinary experiences into teaching and learning opportunities. For instance, at the grocery store, you might ask your child to help you build a nutritious meal by including items from each of the food groups. While on vacation, invite your child to keep a journal of your adventures or pick a town that you visited and learn about its history. As you keep your child’s academic goals in mind throughout the summer, you’ll be surprised at how many summer learning opportunities arise on their own.
Teach Time Management Through Chores
Although time management isn’t an academic topic per se, it’s a necessary skill that will benefit your child in every subject and throughout his academic career and professional life. So use the summer as an opportunity to teach your child how to manage his/her time effectively. Start by creating a list of chores that need to be completed each week. Then, assist your child as he or she creates a chore calendar detailing which chores are to be done for each day of the week. Finally, make a daily schedule that includes the time of day your child will perform each chore. Ask your child to consider other summer enrichment activities you have planned when creating the calendar and schedule so that these activities don’t conflict with household chores. As your child follows the schedule each day, he or she will feel a sense of accomplishment while seeing the benefits of time management as well. As an added perk, you’ll have a cleaner house to enjoy all summer long!
Participate in a Career Project
Time away from school and extracurricular responsibilities presents the perfect opportunity for your child to concentrate on his or her career goals. All children need someone to look up to for inspiration—what better kind of role model than one who is practicing in the field or industry your child is one day interested in pursuing? As part of your summer learning program, ask your child to select a successful professional who is currently working in this field to research. There are a variety of ways that your child can present his findings. For instance, you may encourage him to create and deliver a presentation to the family, create a website honoring the individual, or make a timeline of the person’s life. This summer enrichment activity will not only help your child hone his research skills, but he will be acquiring a special role model in the process. Even young children can participate in a career project. For instance, researching a ballerina and creating a storybook about her life would make for an enjoyable summer learning experience for your aspiring dancer.
When planning a summer learning program for your child, be sure to cater it around her interests and make it as much fun as possible! It shouldn’t feel like work; if it does, then your child will no doubt be reluctant to participate. It’s also important to leave plenty of time for rest and leisure as well, so that your child returns to school feeling reinvigorated and ready for another year of academic success.
About the Authors: Award-winning study and life skills experts Rick and Teena Kamal founded EduNova to prepare students to lead and thrive in the global economy. They worked with 33 top university education experts and many successful senior executives to produce resources that empower middle school, high school and college students to succeed. Learn more at www.HowToStudyBest.com.
From the Publisher
The mission of Spigot Science Magazine is to help children understand how and why the world works and to inspire young minds to be curious and thoughtful stewards of the world that will be theirs one day.
Spigot's Cell Issue now available; http://www.spigotscience.com
This wonderful book is packed full of projects for your kids to do while they're learning all about bridges and tunnels. Here's what's inside;
Introduction - Lifelines
Chapter 1 - Engineering and Thinking Big
Chapter 2 - Building Big : The Physics of Bridges
Chapter 3 - Amazing Bridges
Chapter 4 - Disaster! When Bridges Collapse
Chapter 5 - Building Big: The Physics of Tunnels
Chapter 6 - Amazing Tunnels
Chapter 7 - Tunnel Disasters
Along with 25 do it yourself projects Bridges and Tunnels has amazing facts, Words to Know, Notable Quotables and so much more! It's the perfect book for summer fun and learning for kids ages 9-12.
Check out Bridges and Tunnels: Investigate Feats of Engineering at Nomad Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or your local book stores.
Tissue Engineering: Fixing the Human Body
There are some other uses of tissue engineering. Some scientists are proposing that we grow animal muscle in labs so that it can be used for meat in areas without enough food. What do you think about that idea?
Read more at; http://www.spigotscience.com
This is the start of a choral reading. You can read it in many different ways and add many new verses. One way to read it is to have one group read the refrain, the repeated boldfaced lines. Other groups or individuals could then say the verses.
Millions and billions and trillions of cells,
So small we cannot see them
Made of atoms and molecules
The building blocks of life
by Allsion Greco
The microscope is an instrument we use to look at objects such as cells that are too small to be seen with the human eye. Three people from the Netherlands are often given credit for inventing the microscope in 1590—Hans Lippershey, Sacharias Jansen, and Hans Jenssen. They were all eyeglass makers who experimented with lenses to see small objects.
There was a great interest in magnifying things in the Renaissance (1300s-1600s). During that time, scientists studied the things all around them using lenses and created inventions that we still use today like the microscope. Anton van Leeuwenhoek is often said to be the inventor of the microscope, but he just improved it. He was among the first to use microscopes to discover new things such as blood cells and protozoa (one-celled animals)...
Summer is a great time to relax and unwind. For many kids it can also be a time of alternating between high activity and extreme boredom. TV, social media, and video games fill some of the void, but many upper elementary and middle school kids are itching to do something more.
Many schools offer lists of ideas for reading and writing activities to ward off the summer doldrums and keep learning alive.
We, at Spigot Science, would be remiss if we didn’t suggest some ideas that might help kids stay connected with science.
1. Go to the local library and participate in their summer reading program. Some libraries offer science programs, too. You could download Spigot Science book reviews from the Library
Connection to focus on specific science topics. Keep a record of what you read and what you learn.
2. Prepare a science fair project just for fun. The Spigot Science Library Connection suggests some good books for science fair ideas. The experiments done in the summer just may provide a head start on next year’s science fair.
3. Go outside and take a lot of digital pictures. Look at them and see if you see a theme. Go back outdoors and take pictures related to the theme. Put these pictures together in your favorite multimedia program and share your digital story with others.
4. Take a field trip to a science museum or zoo. There may even be a workshop for you to participate in.
5. Record the things that interest you with a digital camera. Summarize what you learn in a slide show, video, or poster. If you have the space, plant a small garden or create a vegetable garden in pots. Tend the garden and watch it grow. Observe the stages plants grow through. Enjoy the harvest.
Check out Spigot Science at; http://www.spigotscience.com
For your brain to function, nerve cells called neu-rons, must "talk" to each other. But they talk with chemi-cals, not words. Let’s ask Nate Neuron how neurons "talk."
Nate Neuron"Hi, I’m Nate Neuron. I have a big belly called a cell body.It makes chemicals, generates energy, stores my genes (which carry inherited information), and, in gen-eral, keeps me alive. Attached all around my cell body are branches, like tiny trees, called dendrites. On one side of the cell body is a special long extension called an axon. We’ll meet them both, but let’s meet Denny Den-drite first." READ MORE...
The deepest parts of our oceans are among the least explored and most unknown places on Planet Earth. Through the use of submarines and remotely operated devices, scientists are discovering what life exists in the deep ocean.
In the latest issue of Science in the News, students learn about what movie director James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic, and more) saw on his recent dive into the Challenger Deep near Guam.
And, as if this were not deep enough, we also share what scientists are finding by using remote probes that actually snoop BENEATH the ocean's floor!
As many have come to expect with our monthly issue of SITN, discussion questions, vocabulary, and activities are included with the short text to help students not only understand the topic, but to also infer new knowledge. We believe that as students improve their grasp of science vocabulary, their interest in science grows dramatically.
As a premium member, Science in the News is included for downloading, as is all of our wide selection of Spigot content.
Come visit us, turn on the Spigot, and Tap into Learning!
|Carbohydrates are molecules made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Carbohydrates, also known as sugars, provide energy for a cell inside its mitochondria.|
|Proteins are large molecules known as ribosomes in the cell’s organelles. Proteins are used by cells for structural support, transporting other products, and sending signals.|
Cells are the building blocks of all plants and animals. Plants are made of many different types of cells. Each cell has a specific purpose so that the plant can function properly. Just as with animals, all of the plant cells work together as a whole to make the plant come to life.
A plant has parts such as flowers, stems, leaves, and roots. Different cells make up each of these plant parts. Each cell plays a vital role to sustain the life cycle of the plant. READ MORE...
Activities To Do From This Article
1. Pick one type of plant cell.
2. Find two websites, one book, and one magazine article about the plant cell.
3. Make a list of what the plant cell does.
4. Draw a diagram or picture to illustrate the function of the chosen plant cell.
5. Share and explain your diagram to someone else
Organisms (living things) are made up of substances (matter; material that has mass and takes up space) and structures (parts that work together). They have levels of organization leading from the simplest level to the most complex. Here are examples of the substance and structure of the human body from its lowest to highest level of organization:
Atoms and Molecules Atoms and molecules make up the lowest level of organization. They are a part of everything living and non-living in our world. Atoms such as oxygen combine with hydrogen atoms to form molecules that we know as water...READ MORE
By Rick and Teena Kamal
Strategy 1 – Prioritize
If your child feels he has too much to do and can’t possibly do it all, the only solution is to prioritize. Talk to your child to help him identify the goals that are most important and pressing and make a practical plan to achieve these goals.
Make a plan. This plan should include all of the ways the student intends to accomplish a goal. For instance, if she wants to make better grades in math, the plan could include talking regularly with the teacher, completing all homework on time, and studying daily to be better prepared for quizzes and tests.
Create a daily task list. Help your student learn to break up tasks into smaller, more doable steps that he can complete each day. The daily task list may include items such as completing an assignment, studying for 30 minutes, or asking the teacher for extra help with a particular skill.
Strategy 2 - Manage Time Effectively
Introduce your child to the time management skills below to help him become more productive and achieve academic success without the need for cramming:Take small steps.
Emphasize why it's important to devote a little time each day, starting as soon as your student is assigned a major task or assignment. Using this approach, he will be able to steadily chip away at the work that needs to be done, and feel more at ease and in control.
Observe your student's study habits and help her to discover time-wasters that eat away at productivity. Keep the TV off during study hours or make sure your child studies in a room where there is no television. Help her also to unplug from phone calls, text messages, or emails. By eliminating distractions, she’ll be able to get more done in a shorter time.
Strategy 3 - Combat Stress
Tips to beat the negative effects of stress on academic performance include;
Eliminate unnecessary sources of stress.
Help your student identify and eliminate sources of stress that get in the way of good grades, such as any extracurricular activity the child no longer enjoys.
Model and share ways to manage stress
including regular exercise, play time, breathing exercises, meditation, adequate sleep and nutritious foods.
By prioritizing goals, managing time effectively, and dealing with stress in a positive way, your child will learn to study more effectively in less time and achieve better grades.
About the Authors: Study and life skills experts Rick and Teena Kamal founded EduNova to prepare students to lead and thrive in the global economy. They worked with 33 top university education experts and many successful senior executives to produce resources that empower middle school, high school and college students to succeed. Learn more at ; http://www.HowToStudyBest.com
The world of cells is a strange, mysterious place that few of us understand. Yet cells are very important because without them, life would not exist. Cells are the building blocks of life for every plant and animal.
Cells are mysterious because they are so small that we cannot see them without some help. Just as we cannot see the hydrogen and oxygen atoms that make up water, we cannot see the cells that make up our own bodies. Scientists, called cell biologists or microbiologists, use very powerful microscopes to study cells...READ MORE
This interview was conducted by the staff of Flamingnet. It is re-published with their permission.
The Mangrove Tree. The nonfiction story is geared toward readers ages 9 – 12. It tells of a doctor’s unique solution to save a country.
1. What inspired you to write The Man-grove Tree?
My friend Susan Roth told me the story of Gordon Sato's planting project in Eritrea and asked me to help her turn it into a picture book. Her husband, who is a biologist, knew Gordon through international science circles. I had edited several of Susan's picture books when I was in the children's books publishing field.
2. What will readers learn from the story?
They'll learn what a big impact a small act can have on a group of people, and that it doesn't take a lot of money to make a real change.
3. Tell us about the Manzanar project.
The Manzanar Project is Dr. Gordon Sato's very successful experiment in planting mangrove trees to help impoverished villag-ers in Hargigo, Eritrea to become self-sustaining. Gordon had helped the Eritrean people during their war of independence with Ethiopia--they won it in 1991--and he liked the Eritreans. He wanted to help them build their country after the war, and he decided what they needed was a plentiful crop to feed their sheep and goats. He chose mangroves because their leaves are nutritious and they grow in salty water, which Eritrea has lots of--much of the coun-try lies on the coast of the Red Sea. The gen-ius of the project is that he figured out if you plant a cheap bag of fertilizer next to a man-grove seedling, it gets the same nutrients it would get in nature (mangroves grow natu-rally where freshwater and saline water sources meet) and the tree could grow in sea-water alone.
4. Why did you want to write a story that incorporated science?
It's more that I wanted to tell this story, which meant that I had to do a lot of scien-tific research, and of course, I wanted to get everything just right.
5. Was science your favorite subject in school? If not, what was your favorite sub-ject?
I loved chemistry and biology in high school, but when I got to college, I decided to major in English. I would rather be a writer first and then do the science research in service to the story.
6. Who is your favorite character in the story? Was this character based off of a real life person?
Dr. Sato is the real-life hero of the book and he is my personal hero. It's funny, I didn't
really have one before I wrote The Mangrove Tree.Now when I talk about him I get all choked up. He's 83 and still visiting the three locations of the Manzanar Project in Africa. The project is now in Mauritania and Mo-rocco as well as Eritrea. Susan and I got to meet and interview Gordon in February 2010 and it was thrilling to hear facts from him that weren't in any other printed source about the project. There are a few of those in the book.
7. Where are you from? What is your oc-cupation? Is this your first story? Is the story co-authored?
I'm from Montclair, New Jersey and I live in New Jersey now with my family. I am an editor of elementary classroom programs in reading and language arts, and I've written four other nonfiction books and a novel for children called
The Genie in the Book. I did the primary research and writing for The Mangrove Tree, and then my co-author, Susan, read each draft and made suggestions.
8. Does the book have illustra-tions? Where did the ideas for the illustra-tions originate?
The book is illustrated throughout with Susan Roth's collage art, and the photos at the back of the book show the inspiration for the art.
9. If you had to share a favorite para-graph from the story, which one would it be?
The one in the back where we quote Gordon, who was interned in the Manzanar concentration camp as a teenager, saying that he called his project The Manzanar Project to show that it is possible to fight injustice with hope.
10. After your manuscript was accepted by the publishers, what suggestions did the publisher give you to revise it?
The best one, which came from our edi-tor, was to put the cumulative poem about the project on one side of the page, and the fac-tual material on the other. We had originally written just the poem, with a lot of facts in the afterword, and she showed us we could pull the facts out and put them alongside the poem. That meant the story could be read by a wide range of age groups, with younger kids reading the left side of the text and older kids or parents reading the right side.
11. For fun - What is your favorite science subject? Did you take any science classes in college? If you could invent something, what would it be? If you could discover something new, what would it be?
If you could find a cure for something, what would you want to cure? If you could go back in time and see an extinct animal, which animal would you want to see? My favorite science subject is chemistry. I took chemistry and biology in college, but I felt the professors approached the subjects in a very dry, multiple-choice manner and I quickly changed my major from chemistry to English.
My invention and discovery would be a cure for cancer, since I have seen many fam-ily members succumb to it. Interestingly, Gordon Sato's ability to fund his African planting projects comes from co-holding the patent for a very successful cancer drug called Erbitux.
Going back in time, I would love to see Archaeopteryx. I edited a book on the "dinosaur-bird" and I've been fascinated ever since. It's interesting how theories about the animal change with each new discovery.
12. Why is science important?
I think that scientific discoveries can help nudge us to be better people if we pay atten-tion to them.
Read more about
The Mangrove Tree. Check out Flamingnet’s reviews by teens at http://www.flamingnet.com/author/trombore.html
Read more about the Rolex Award for Enterprise at http://www.rolexawards.com/en/the-laureates/gordonsato-home.jsp