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Lynne Featherstone Interrviewed about youth issues by Hornsey School Girl students

Photo Credit: Lynn Featherstone from Flickr

Oral history is the use of narratives, personal experiences, and storytelling from historical and everyday people to share about certain topics and time periods. These experiences are most often videotaped or audio recorded, but they can also be written down as a result of an interview or conversation. Many museums use this type of instruction to educate their visitors about all sorts of events and topics. It offers people from all walks of life the opportunity to learn from someone else’s point of view just by listening. But how can it be brought to life in the classroom?

Instead of reading about WWII in a book and doing a worksheet about it, oral histories allow students to personally connect with those who experienced it firsthand. They hear the emotion in the voices they listen to, see expressions on their faces, and are, therefore, far more moved. These stories and experiences let them feel as though they are part of the story somehow and, in turn, may put life into a different perspective.

More than just allowing students to hear about these experiences, many teachers have found that getting them to conduct their own oral history research forms a far greater connection to the subject. In the classroom, teachers can give each student a specific topic for which they must conduct research for. This research is gathered in the form of interviews and conversations with members of their family and community, as well as their peers, about experience or point of view based on that topic.

The key is to make the topic something that is interesting to the student, something that is important to them or that they know someone who has an opinion about it. This allows them to become even more interested and learn to care about other’s experiences.

Indian Youth

Photo Credit: David Brewer from Flickr

However, don’t limit this type of instruction to just history class. Oral history can be used in just about any type of classroom and for any age group. For example, in math class, a teacher could ask students to interview members of their family or community about how they use math on a daily basis. This can help those students relate to the subject a bit more, realizing its importance and its use in their lives now and in the future.

Younger children can also learn to participate in such projects, though on a much lesser scale of course. While second and third graders may not be up to the challenge of writing a paper about their oral history research, they can certainly be sent home with the homework to ask their family members or even close neighbors about certain experiences or topics. Even just one question or two could suffice. You would be surprised at how a child’s opinion or connection to learning could be influenced just by participating in oral histories.

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Kid Inventors’ Day

Every January 17th we have the opportunity to celebrate the children in our lives and the accomplishments they have and will make. This includes inventions and extraordinary innovations. Children, unlike adults, have a unique ability to look at the world differently. They do not understand many aspects of life and the difficulty it holds.

Some would believe this makes them ineligible for such tasks. On the contrary, the fact that they are not bogged down by life’s complexities and hardships most often allows them to create without limitations or boundaries. They are able to see solutions on a different level than most adults.

There are many things we use on a daily basis that were, in fact, created by children or teenagers, such as the trampoline, popsicles, ear muffs.

The History of Kid Inventors’ Day

One of the first known child inventors was Benjamin Franklin. Most of us are familiar with his creations of all sorts of useful items such as bifocals, the lightning rod, the Franklin stove, and the glass harmonica just to name a few. However, he started inventing when he was just a child. At age 12 he created the first swim flippers. It for this reason that we celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day on his birthday, January 17th.

History continues to prove that children can and do invent some very impressive and helpful things. Some are born from mere accidents, such as the popsicle, while others take several years to create and are much more complex. One of the most extensive creations of a child is the language of the blind, yes, Braille. It was created by a French child in Paris named Louis Braille after he was involved in a serious accident that took his sight from him.

American Sign Language also has a great contribution made by a child. Ryan Patterson, a teenager, invented special gloves with sensors to translate hand motions of ASL into written words for children and adults alike with various disabilities.

Kid Inventors’ Day

Photo Credit: Internet Archive Book Images by Flickr

How to Celebrate Kid Inventors’ Day

This day is proof that children of any age are living, breathing inventors with extraordinary minds. Never take those precious thoughts for granted, even if they seem a little unsophisticated and silly to you. after all, these children are our future. Today is a day for no limits, to believe the impossible. Sometimes that is what it takes to makes dreams and inventions of the future come to life.

Take a child to a museum, a park, or even the kitchen. Create an environment where they can learn about inventions from the past and experience inspiration. It can come from just about anywhere, from simple crafts and games to large airplanes and spaceships. No matter what you do, make sure to encourage their dreams, even if seems outrageous and impossible. You never know when the next Benjamin Franklin could be sitting in your living room.

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Ice Skaters

Photo Credit: Henry Hemming from Flickr

Winter can be a trying time for school-age children and parents alike. The weather is colder and there just doesn’t seem to be as many fun options for time or energy to be spent. We often find ourselves stuck in the same routines, and to be honest, they are boring. The winter blues are knocking on the door and so is cold and flu season. But don’t despair. There are ways to keep both away with these fun and healthy tips for your home and family besides just remembering to wash your hands.

Healthy breakfast

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day. And for kids in school, it's even more essential. However, just as important as eating is what they are eating. Sugar filled pop-tarts and cocoa puffs will not sustain them until lunchtime and are sure to create the wrong kind of energy need for their demanding day.

Instead, whip up some eggs or, for days when you are running a little late, make sure to have some hardboiled ones in the fridge already. Yogurt topped with fruit, or on the side, is another great source of vitamins and proteins. Add some whole grains or cottage cheese and they are good to go for a full day of learning.

Exercise

Just because its colder outside doesn’t mean your child has an excuse to sit in front of a screen for long hours. Exercise is still a crucial part of their health and well-being. Not only does it keep them physically healthy but, according to many studies, has a very positive outlook on their emotional well-being and brain development.

Don’t be afraid to let your little ones enjoy the cold air outdoors. Spending time in nature, as long as they are bundled up, helps to prevent sleep deprivation, allows them to de-stress, and keeps up their immune system. A quick pre-dinner walk, ice skating, sledding, or a short trip to the park are all fun and safe outdoor activities for kiddos who need a little natural daylight and exercise.

Change up the lunches

School Children Lunch Box

Photo Credit: Melissa from Flickr

At this point in the school year, it's common to find that your child is only eating about half of their lunches each day at school. This is most likely just because they are bored with their choices. If this is the case in your home, it may be time to switch some things up a bit. Instead of the normal PB&J, try some crackers with ham and cheese. Add in some healthy fruits and veggies and maybe a small treat for a well-rounded meal.

Kids also seem to love compartmentalized meals. This allows them to create their own sandwiches from choices you send or instead of being overwhelmed by one or two large objects, they are presented with five or six smaller items such as carrots, celery, yogurt, and even a cookie.

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Trivial Pursuit

Photo Credit: Letica Ayuso from Flickr

You know all that seemingly useless information in your head that never gets used or you think no one else cares about? Today is the day to finally use it. January 4th is Trivia Day. They may be silly insignificant facts, little-known oddities, or just random information but on Trivia day they can be used to impress your family and friends and possibly even cause a few laughs.

The History of Trivia Day

The history of Trivia Day begins with a few missing pieces to a scrabble board game. In Montreal, Canada in 1979, friends Scott Abbott and Chris Haney were getting frustrated with their scrabble game that had some missing pieces. However, it did not stop them from having a bit of fun.

These two fellows decided to create a new game with the pieces they had. The game became an instantaneous hit and its popularity is spread worldwide. The game is Trivial Pursuit and it is thought to have sparked a seemingly endless fascination with odd or little-known facts on a wide variety of topics.

Since that day, many more trivia inspired games have been dreamed up and made their way into homes throughout the world. This day was created to remember that day and the efforts of the two men determined to have some fun. It’s also a day to make use of that random information in your head that usually has no specific purpose.

Trivial Pursuit Game

Photo Credit: Paolo Soro from Flickr

How to Celebrate Trivia Day

Trivia Day is best spent playing trivia games with your favorite comrades and family. There are a great number of trivia games to choose from in this day and age. Some are comprised of large boards, many pieces, and quite a few complex rules, whiles others are much simpler and can be played on a computer or smartphone. The subjects these tidbits of knowledge come from span every concept imaginable from the shoes on your feet to the stars in the sky. If you can think of it, there is a question about it.

However, don’t assume that prior knowledge of these subjects is required. Half of the fun is not knowing and learning tons of new information and trivia along the way. These are games young kids and adults alike can really get into. And if you don’t have any trivia games at home or the place you will be spending most of today, try making up your own. Continue the legacy of this day by having some fun and using all that knowledge in your head to make the world a happier place.

Here are a few random trivia facts to get you in the mood:

  • On Venus, it snows metal.
  • Spain means “the land of rabbits.”
  • Only female mosquitoes bite.
  • Saudi Arabia has no rivers.
  • The only Caribbean island with a railroad is Cuba.

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Group of Children’s

Whether you have children or not, it's nearly impossible to see that they are our future. In just a few short years, those that are right now playing tag with their friends in the schoolyard or learning to tie their shoes and button up their shirts will be leading our nations, teaching in our schools, and tending the sick and dying. They will be in charge of making important decisions, leading their own children, and making the world a better place. So why shouldn’t we celebrate them? This day is made to honor all that they are right now and all they can be.

History of Universal Children’s Day

In 1954, the General Assembly of the United Nations first announced this day. They had two goals in mind. First, it is meant to encourage children to spend time together; learning from one another, getting to know each other, and understanding their differences, races, and religions. It is from this learning and understanding of each other that peace is built upon.

Secondly, this day is meant to bring awareness to the problems that face today’s children in governments worldwide. If we can change someone’s mind or allow them to see children who are struggling with certain issues, maybe changes can be made to better their future and the future of the world.

Since its inception, this holiday has served many honorable causes such as making sure children everywhere are given a good education and access to schools. It as also helped the commitment to stopping HIV/AIDS and other diseases that all too often affect children.

How to Celebrate This Day?

How to Celebrate Universal Children’s Day

While the United Nations has announced this day to be on November 20th every year, almost every nation celebrates this holiday on a different day. For example, in Cuba, it is held on the third Sunday of July, in South Sudan they celebrate “Children’s Day” on December 23rd, and in Poland on June 1st. Nearly every country has their own established day to celebrate the joys and gifts of children, however, the goal is same everywhere: to promote peace and concern for the future of our world through our children.

Some towns and areas may hold large festivals, while others celebrate in a much more informal and private way. Many simply spend the day with their children or the children who most influence their life.

If you have children of your own, this is a good day to spend with them, enjoying their presence, doing something they enjoy, and making memories together. It won’t be long before these young and care-free individuals will be grown and making independent choices without your help or guidance. Use this day to teach them of other cultures, environments, and different parts of the world, so they are better prepared for their future and all the wonders it may hold.

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lemon-shark-displays-wolverine-like-self-healing-skills

Lemon Sharks were first seen in the shallow subtropical waters on December of 2014. It was found that these species have been in existence for thousands of years and can live up to 400 years. Lemon sharks are the most predominant species with incredible survival mechanism. They have healing power like Wolverine, and their bodies are coved tough pore-like stainless steel.

This amazing discovery about the lemon sharks' ability to heal by themselves and their defense mechanism was noticed by Joanne Fraser during her regular shark feed dive in Florida. She noticed a lemon shark with a metal-like piece struck into its body. Having experience working with maritime experts in Florida, she quickly captured the unusual sight with her digital camera.

Fraser had so many encounters with the fish after that instance. She has documented every encounter with the fish with photographs and she found that the steel thing coming out from the lemon shark's body was a fish stringer. It is a steel device like a loop used by fishermen to hold the fish during their hunt.

During her last encounter with the shark, Fraser noticed that the shark had pushed the steel loop out from its body and healed itself with only proving a scar as an evidence of the incident.

Fraser sent her documentation and her experience with a lemon shark to Dr. Steven Kessel who is the Director of Maritime Exploration at Chicago Shedd Aquarium.

Dr. Kessel quickly started investigating the incident with the photographs and videos provided by Fraser, and published a report in the journal Marine and Freshwater Exploration on July 13, 2017. In his report, he said that there is no evidence of the entrance and no evidence that the shark has been stabbed on its outer body by a fisherman. Dr. Kessel also reported that the shark may have swallowed the fish stringer while consuming its prey. But he said the most astonishing thing was the size of the stringer it had swallowed. He said that the sharks have the ability to expel the foreign objects and undigested objects from their stomach.

The lemon shark expelling the fish stringer from its body shows the life sustaining ability of the wild oceans. With the documented evidence it was noticed that the lemon shark lived the stringer for 435 days. The shark was carrying a big stomach during the documentation indicating the destruction caused by the stringer has been pushed out from its body around February of 2016.

Marine scientists are positive about the regenerating damaged tissues in sharks. They think that microorganism may be playing a role during the shark's self-healing process.

However, the final document about the lemon shark was made on December 14, 2016. Showing the fish stringer was pushed out from the body and the wounds made by the metal were properly healed.

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national-nuts-day

Oct 22, 2017, is not just a regular Sunday, but it’s a nutritious Sunday. This Sunday is observed as “National Nut Day” every year. We know that nuts have been a primary source of nutritious food from primitive man to modern man. Nuts can be consumed in various forms, they can be cooked, roasted, eaten raw or sprouted, and can be used as ingredients in the breakfast cereal. Nuts contain mostly unsaturated and mono saturated fats which are good for your health.

Nuts not only give you good health but also add nutritious values as are rich sources of protein, and they contain vitamins like B2 and E, high valued minerals like phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, copper, and potassium. Nuts are very important to everyone, especially during snowfall season. They store nuts during autumn and use them during peak winter and spring which keeps them away from starving.

While there are many studies indicated that a person who consumes nuts on a daily basis will less likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. This was first discovered in 1993 and researchers encourage people to include nuts in their daily diet. Further studies said that consumption of nuts like walnut, almonds can reduce cholesterol concentration.

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One study reported that people who consumed nuts with their regular diet lived to live two to three years longer than the people who did not consume nuts regularly. So it is advised to replace junk food with nuts so for longer life.

Eat these nuts regularly:

Almonds: There are lots of nutritious benefit in almonds, almonds can improve healthy cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol which is dangerous to your heart. Almonds can be included in your weight loss diet program and it may lower blood pressure in people who are suffering from obesity.

Pistachios: These are high fiber nuts. Consuming two to three ounces of pistachios can decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Pistachios keep your heart healthy and control the blood sugar levels after a meal.

Walnuts: Omega-3 fatty acids are good for your health and walnuts are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid. Walnuts are good for the healthy heart, and control blood pressure and increase good cholesterol in your body.

Peanuts: Though peanuts belong to legume family they are often considered as nuts. They have a lot of nutritious values and health benefits. The study found that peanuts can reduce the death rates. They may reduce the occurrence of heart deceases, and they are very good notorious food for the people who are suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Hazelnuts:  Like all nuts, Hazelnuts are for heart and blood pressure, and improve blood vessel functionality reduces bad cholesterol, produces vitamin E in the body.

So don’t ignore to add these highly nutritious nuts in your daily diet. You can include nuts in your breakfast, and you can replace your bag of chips with nuts during your snack time.

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In a perfect world – or impeccably, a wonderfully strange world, plants and animals would speak the same language. Could you imagine this? Yet, it would certainly make being on top of the food chain sensitively challenging, it sure would be informative to know.

Most humans don’t give much credibility to the communication abilities of other kingdoms. Just because they don’t speak a language we understand, it doesn’t mean that plants are not getting messages to one another.

Plants carry some uniqueness as per their family structure and factors. You might not know of plants being particularly chatty, but in reality - they communicate remarkably well with each other. This is especially seen when faced with potential danger. However, there is a recent study about the growing body of research on how plants can communicate with each other. This study about plant science says that injured plants send some emergency signals to alert the neighbors to start helping build up their defenses.

The chain of events related to this study and discovery began about two years ago, when University of Delaware botanist, Harsh Bais, agreed to mentor sixteen-year-old Connor Sweeney on a research project. The ecstatic high school student got to work right away, after spending all his free time, including weekends and summer breaks, in the Harsh Bais lab at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

The project entailed culturing Arabidopsis thaliana, also known as mustard weed, that was used in experiments. Here the young researcher placed the seeds in Petri dishes and test tubes filled with agar to promote growth. You can see that the seeds would germinate about six days later and transform into delicate three-inch plantlets with bright green leaves.

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To observe the plantlets transformation, Sweeney conducted several experiments in order to test the plant communication. He sliced a mustard weed leaf in two spots mimicking an insect bite to see how it would begin the repair process. While the following day, the young researcher was surprised to discover that while the injured plant remained unchanged, the roots of the neighboring young mustard weed seedling had grown significantly longer and even had lateral offshoots. You can see it in the below image.

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The researchers were unable to believe what they saw as they have expected that the injured plant to put more resources into growing roots. But they didn’t see that according to the researcher Bais, who conducted a similar study in the year 2012. He found that soil bacteria living near the roots of a plant helped to boost its immunity by signaling the leaf pores, or stomata, to close in the company of pathogens. To safeguard that it was not the same system at work, Sweeney partitioned the plants to prevent the communication between their root bacteria and then repeated the experiment multiple times. But the results were the same all the time.

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To see what was prompting the root growth, the scientists conducted more tests and learned that the injured plants were discharging volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to notify its neighbors of the approaching danger. Trusting that the strong plant was growing its roots to absorb more nutrients to strengthen its defenses, Bais and Sweeney began observing for combinations that help trigger the increase in size. For their surprise, each time an injured plant sent out a warning, its neighboring mustard weeds began expressing more Auxin, a key plant growth hormone. However, the researchers were not sure what the volatile organic compounds comprise, or the span of time they persist in the atmosphere. The study still continues to see the exact reasons.

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elephant-appreciation-day

September 22nd was created as National Elephant Appreciation Day in the year 1996 in honor of the largest land animal in the world.  This holiday was founded by pachyderm lover, Wayne Hepburn, when his daughter gave him a paperweight of elephants on parade and he became fascinated by them. To some, it’s just another animal, but the more you know about Elephant, the more you come to appreciate these fascinating creatures.

People of all ages love elephants and are fascinated by them.  Elephants are known to be larger than life and intensely intelligent animals.  The average lifespan of an elephant is 60 to 70 years, and they develop remarkably close family bonds.  Elephants are very playful animals who love to frisk in the water.  Elephants are herbivorous animals who will eat almost any type of plant from grass to trees, and they are also very fond of lettuce, cabbage, bananas, apples and many other types of fruits and vegetables.

Interesting Facts about Elephants

  • Did you know that an elephant never forgets? That’s because the size of their hippocampus, the part of the brain where their memories are stored, is so huge.
  • When you speak about their brains, we have to remember that elephants have the largest brains of any land animal in a pure build. At birth, an elephant’s brain size can only be reached by 35% of its potential size, which means that they have a huge capacity for learning as they grow and develop.
  • Elephants are highly intelligent and social; they have their own language and this makes it easy for them to form good bonds with each other, and with other species too.
  • Elephants are one of the few animals with self-awareness; like apes, humans and dolphins. Elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror or any other type of reflection.
  • World Elephant Day is celebrated on August 12th each year and was created to bring awareness to the plight of Asian and African elephants throughout the world.
  • Their trunks have 40,000 muscles and tendons and it takes about a year for them to learn how to use it.
  • Adam Stone, the director of an elephant husbandry at the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, says that “with a baby elephant, you will see that its trunk looks like a worm on the end of a peg, even when they’re nursing".

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  • Elephants weigh thousands of pounds and they can still manage to be quick and nimble. Did you know that they can move up to 35 mph, stop on a dime, and travel over high mountain ranges with no problems?
  • They follow the oldest female in their group, which is not part of the typical social order in the animal kingdom. They do this because she has the most memory, knows where the safe haven is, where they can get food and where to go in a storm.
  • In the wild, elephants can live to be in their 40's and in captivity they can live even longer.
  • Many species of elephants face the threat of extinction, due to environmental factors and the ivory profession.
  • Elephants have the longest eyelashes in the world which are about 5 inches long.

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