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Levels of Organization - Science Connection

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

Help Your Child Study More Efficiently

3 strategies to boost grades

By Rick and Teena Kamal
Is it possible to study less and make better grades at the same time? Actually, yes! By helping your child learn to study strategically, he or she can spend less time studying and earn a better GPA. It’s all about making the most of each moment. Here are some strategies:

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.

Define goals. Short-term goals are most important for managing study time effectively. Establishing short-term goals with start and end dates can help your child avoid feeling overwhelmed.

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.

Eliminate distractions.

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 Mysterious World of Cells

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

An Interview with Cindy Trombore, Co-Author of The Mangrove Tree

 This interview was conducted by the staff of Flamingnet. It is re-published with their permission.

The teen book review website, Flaming-net, welcomes Cindy Trombore, co-author of the book
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

Cells Issue is Live!

Spigot Science's newest issue, Cells, is now available.  Check out what's waiting for you and your child.

Cells Issue Coming Soon

Cells are the foundation of every living plant and animal. Without cells, we would not exist. In the latest issue of Spigot Science, Cells, we look at cells from many different perspectives to help students understand this complex topic. Some of the key articles in this issue help students understand:

  • the science of cells and cell division.
  • how technology and engineering are used with cells
  • how scientists mapped the human genome
  • what happens when cells mutate
  • and much more

Through its interdisciplinary approach, students learn in the Language Arts Connection about the many definitions of cells, and they practice applying facts by adapting a choral reading. They also learn about how cells can be combined with art. A dozen books about cells are reviewed in the Library Connection. 

Premium members can download this and all our other issues at the Spigot Science web site. If you are not a Premium member, sign up today and get all the Spigot Science themed publications and Science in the News to share with students for the next year at a very reasonable price.

Slithery trouble in the Everglades - Science in the News

Have you heard about the Burmese pythons that have invaded the Everglades in South Florida?  This is the theme of the latest Science in the New sights some of the efforts being undertaken to deal with it.

As with all Science in the Ne. The article presents the problem to students, shows why the invasion is happening, and highlws articles, the python story is rich with teaching opportunities. Students are challenged to know and use specific vocabulary associated with the article. They are also asked to identify key elements of the article, and to “think outside the box” to come up with their own solution to the python problem. Additionally, there are activities included to help students address the core issue; the impact of invasive species on natural habitats.

If you are a Premium member of Spigot Science, be sure to download and use this article today. Not a member? Upgrade today at the Spigot Science site. You’ll get all our past and future publications for a whole year for a nominal fee.

Science in the News

Many people are interested in solar energy these days. It is a clean alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels. There are many solar projects around, but most of them involve single homes or buildings. What would you do if you wanted to harness enough solar energy to meet the needs of millions of people?